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Reid Rupe: Saugus' quiet workhorse

Centurions senior leads the Foothill League in rushing

Posted: November 20, 2013 10:31 p.m.
Updated: November 20, 2013 10:31 p.m.

Saugus High senior running back Reid Rupe leads all Foothill League rushers in 2013 with 1,111 rushing yards.

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There has probably never been a truer statement from anybody.

Saugus High running back Reid Rupe says: “I have never really been outspoken or anything. I choose to show my talents through hard work and stuff like that. I don’t want to tell people.”

Clearly, if you keep listening to Rupe, the Foothill League’s leading rusher.

It’s one-word answer, then another.

Outside of football, he claims he doesn’t have many interests.

A vanilla football player for a football team that its own head coach once described as having a vanilla offense.

But imagine how beneficial a lacking of emotion, a calm, a man of few words can be?

Those type of people apparently make great surgeons and jet pilots, which Saugus head coach Jason Bornn says Rupe has floated the idea of being.

Or athletes.

With the playoffs comes a different level of urgency, a heightened intensity, a heavier feeling of pressure.

For nearly everybody.

Clearly not for the 17-year-old senior.

“He has a very even temperament. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him scream or holler or anything. He’s very focused on what he has to do,” Bornn says. “That’s his personality. He’s a low-key kind of guy. There’s no emotion involved whatsoever. He does his job, does it extremely well and we love that mentality. It’s good to have guys on the field like that where nothing fazes him.”

Last Friday, with Saugus facing a third-and-goal from the Atascadero 7-yard line and with the clock running down late in the fourth quarter at Atascadero, Rupe broke a couple of tackles on the right side for the go-ahead touchdown in the Centurions’ 34-27 upset win in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

Atascadero was the Northern Division’s No. 3 overall seed.

“We all knew no one thought we were going to do much,” Rupe says.

But they did, especially because of him.

He ran the ball 28 times in the game for 219 yards, displaying another quality other than his quiet nature — toughness.

“He told me at halftime he was not feeling very well and that (teammate) Blake (Austin) might have to come in. He was sick,” says Saugus offensive coordinator David Russell. “He had a tremendous game for us, though. At one point he got his knee tweaked and (one of our assistant coaches) said, ‘We need you to step up.’ He jumped in and that was the winning drive.”

It’s surprising to see Rupe atop the Foothill League’s rushing yardage list because of the numerous injuries he has had.

A shoulder, a knee and an ankle — the ankle costing him two games, including the Oct. 11 38-24 loss to Valencia in the league opener.

Rupe says he thinks he returned from the injury too soon when he rushed for 73 yards in a 23-20 loss to Canyon.

In the five games where he has been at his healthiest, he has amassed 918 yards.

In the games he missed and wasn’t healthy, Saugus’ play calling was limited and key defensive players had to become key offensive players.

On the season, Rupe has rushed for 1,111 yards on 174 carries with 10 rushing touchdowns.

Saugus will need everything Rupe has on Friday against Mira Costa at Canyon High in the second round of the Northern Division playoffs.

If there’s anybody who will be less intimidated about the situation than Rupe, good luck finding them.

Though he probably wouldn’t say it, this is the kind of game he’s perfect for.

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