Thunder revel in first home playoff win in program’s history

by Paul Delos Santos, The Specturm 10/29/11

“Two weeks ago Desert Hills junior Ty Rutledge suffered what appeared to be a season ending injury against Hurricane. He tore a hip and groin muscle, which included an avulsion, meaning the tendon took a piece of bone with it. The doctors initially told Rutledge that he would be out for 12 weeks, but the number didn’t sit well with the junior wide reciever. So instead of 12 weeks, Rutledge miraculously returned to action in 12 days. He was cleared to play on Thursday, and on Friday he paid major dividends, helping the Thunder secure a spot in the 3A state quarter finals with a 34-14 hammering of Park City at Thunder Stadium.

‘I didn’t really believe that (I would be out 12 weeks). I was always feeling good since it happened,’ said Rutledge, who snagged four catches for 93 yards with two touchdowns. ‘I just trained, got tested and did phyiscal therapy. A lot of credit has to go to (the training staff and doctors). I owe them a lot.’ Rutledge was held out of contact drills during the week, wearing a red jersey signaling he couldn’t be hit during practice. If there were any ill effects from the injury, Rutledge didn’t show any and wasn’t slowed down. His impeccable progress served as inspiration to many of the Thunder players. ‘He came out and wanted to work,” senior Bud Pope said. ‘He was working the whole practice. He’s a tough (kid).’

The Thunder will play Stansbury…in the next round. But focusing on the next game will have to wait as the Thunder will cherish the school’s first ever home playoff victory, and more importantly, it allowed the senior class to experience victory on their home field….Rutledge, ‘Our seniors deserved it. The only thing was a home-field win last time they played. It was huge to get a win. I’m sure the home crowd loved it also.’

Senior (QB) Porter Harris…continually looked for Rutledge downfield, connecting with the junior on a 54-yard bomb to set up a Rutledge 9-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. The duo hooked up again with less than four minutes to play, when Harris, after a brief scramble, found a wide-open Rutledge waiting in the end zone. ‘It felt like 15 seconds before the ball got to me. Thankfully, I caught it and we scored,’ Rutledge said. Added Harris: ‘First we went out and grind the clock down. (After a timeout,) Ty comes into the huddle and says, ‘We can run this play.’ We trusted him and ran the play.’ “

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