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Varied Viking: Kevin Rush

There’s much more to Valencia defensive lineman Rush than football

Posted: November 26, 2009 8:44 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia senior defensive tackle Kevin Rush has been dominating opposing linemen all season long. But given his bevy of creative outlets off the field, there's more to Rush than meets the eye.

 
He explains that the flap bulging out of his practice jersey and the numerous holes in it are the results of wear and tear from slamming and clawing with teammates.

He’s a big kid — 6 feet 2 inches tall to go along with 225 pounds.

And he’s a terror on the football field — his 11 sacks are second-most in the Foothill League.

He is and looks like a football player — but that’s not necessarily who he is.

“He’s almost like a renaissance kid,” says Valencia head coach Larry Muir.

Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Rush is enigmatic.

Rush is quiet and humble.

He chooses his words carefully.

And he is slow to reveal what is deep inside of his heart.

“I’m not the typical jock, you know,” he says.

The 17-year-old senior has helped lead the Vikings to their first Foothill League title since 2004 and to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs where Valencia will play Buena tonight at Buena High School at 7 p.m.

He has done it with brute force, intelligence and a little creativity.

After all, at 225 pounds, he is going against offensive linemen who are usually bigger than him.

Creativity defines Rush.

He plays the bass guitar.

And he is a sketch artist who wows people on a regular basis.

Rush, who became fluent in Spanish in elementary school, was asked by a Spanish teacher last year to sketch for the class on the whiteboard.

“He’s like a freak of nature,” says teammate and fellow defensive lineman Stephen Rawls. “He draws the craziest things.”

Rush says his creative outlets are ways to express himself.

Universally, he is described as quiet.

He explains that it’s just the way he is.

“I think he’s a unique kid, very unique,” Muir says. “He’s kind of refreshing because he’s so diverse.”

The diversity extends to athletics.

As a freshman, Rush was a three-sport athlete, playing first base for the Vikings freshman baseball team, power forward for the freshman basketball team and defensive line for the freshman football team.

He is also the team’s punter this season.

Rush cut down to two sports after his freshman year and has continued to play basketball.

He says he will play his senior year for the Vikings basketball team.

His priority, though, is helping lead the Valencia football team to its first CIF championship game since 2004.

So far, Rush and many of his teammates on the defensive side of the ball have been overshadowed by Valencia’s high-octane offense.

Sure, the Vikings are averaging 46 points per game, but they are also allowing just 14 points per contest.

Going deeper into the numbers, the 24 points they allowed in five Foothill League contests was the least amount of points a Santa Clarita team had given up in a five-game league schedule since the 1985 Canyon team allowed just 12 points.

Rush is a big reason why.

He returned a fumble for a touchdown against Canyon on Oct. 16 and has taken home Valencia’s “Pride Stick” three times this season. The stick is a defensive player of the week award.

“He’s been irreplaceable on defense,” Muir said. “He’s been very consistent. There haven’t been a lot of guys who have blocked him and blocked him well.”

As for his future beyond Valencia, Muir said Rush has one in football if he wants it.

Muir said Rush has an uncommon joy from playing football.

Rush cracks an innocent smile on the football field.

There’s only one way to truly describe it.

It’s the same way to describe Kevin Rush — unique.

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