Name: Dylan Rush
Rush’s week: Mapletown’s 5-8, 180-pound senior tailback established a WPIAL single-game rushing record by gaining 524 yards in a 48-32 victory over Avella in a Tri-County South Conference game Friday. The previous record was 492 yards, set by Armstrong’s Zane Dudek last year. Mike Vernillo of Fort Cherry held the local rushing record with 424 yards in a 1997 game against Cornell.
“I didn’t think I had that many yards,” said Rush. “It really didn’t feel like I was over 500 yards.
Rush also rushed for seven touchdowns on his 39 carries. He had 263 yards on 23 carries at halftime and 443 yards on 27 carries at the end of the third quarter. The 524 yards moved his career total to 5,354 yards.
The Rush dossier: The following is a list of things you might not know about Rush.
• He began as a wide receiver, playing his first two varsity games at the position before head coach George Messich moved him to tailback.
“I was leery of putting him at tailback right away,” Messich said. “I wanted to be careful not to ruin his confidence.”
• Rush is an outstanding baseball player, a middle infielder with sub-4.50 speed in the 40-yard dash. He stole 40 bases last year and hopes to play both sports in college.
“I’ll be looking for a place where I can do both,” he said.
Rush hasn’t made a decision on a college yet but he is being courted by Ivy League schools – Princeton came after him early – intrigued by his skills and 4.27 grade-point average. Recruiting should increase after the Avella game.
Interestingly, Mapletown’s other record-setting tailback, Derek Bochna, wanted to play both sports and Messich, a starting lineman on Pitt’s national championship team in 1976, approached Pitt about it. Pitt said no, Penn State yes and Bochna chose the latter. He excelled in both sports for the Nittany Lions.
• Rush is superstitious, wearing the same clothes on game day and same uniform in games. The one exception came when the team wore green socks as a show of support for a student who was ill.
Messich also was superstitious, hanging his football equipment in his locker the same way every day. Pitt won a national title while Messich was there, so it must have worked.
• Rush said one of his teammates – quarterback Brandon Donley – teased him that he was going to tackle him during a game this year, then did so two weeks ago when the two collided on a botched handoff.
“It was an accident, but it was pretty funny,” Rush said. “I asked him about it after the game, and he said he didn’t remember saying that to me.”
Compiled by Joe Tuscano