Sports

Cole's career was a treat SK football fans should savor

South Kitsap High School has produced a number of great running backs.

Each had their own style, whether it be grace or power.

But it’s hard to argue against Ryan Cole as South Kitsap’s greatest-ever running back.

I have to go back to my first year in Port Orchard in 1998.

I was told to check out the junior high school game between Marcus Whitman and John Sedgwick.

One of the players I was told to watch was Cole, a beefy ninth grader who physically stood out amongst his teammates.

Though Sedgwick lost, Cole showed an instinct and talent no one could ever coach.

It was all natural and I remember thinking, “Wait until this kid gets into the SK program.”

Sure enough, Cole earned a spot on varsity, but he would have to wait for his time because Roger Cooper was leading the way.

Cole played sparingly in mop-up duty, but he didn’t complain, of course.

He knew his time would come.

It came on the final play of the quarterfinal loss to Bethel in 1999.

Down 27-0 with one second left, Cole rushed around the left side 32 yards for a touchdown.

“‘That’s the future right there,’ ” an SK fan said after the run.

And he was right.

While the score was meaningless, it was a symbolic run that showed the torch had been handed to him, and the SK running game would be his for the next two years.

Now his high school career has concluded, but it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing him playing on Saturdays at a Division I school somewhere.

At the beginning of the season Cole said he was going to take his time with his decision and make some trips.

For all we know, he may be switched to defense in college.

That’s more the reason we should all take in the memories of Cole’s memorable runs where he shook off defenders, or lowered his pads like Walter Payton and streamed up the field with power and determination.

Determination. That’s Cole’s middle name.

Whether it’s in school, with his friends and family, or on the football field, Cole has bright future ahead of him.

Nothing can stop him now. He won’t let that happen.

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