JACKSBORO, Tenn. (WATE) – At first glance, you might think Campbell County’s number 12 is playing the wrong position.
When asked about it, Cougars Head Coach Justin Price laughs. “Our offensive line coach always talks about how there’s my big left tackle walking in. We’re big up front, so he’d fit right in with them.”
“He’s a big old refrigerator,” says senior offensive lineman Gary Seibers. “I mean, I’ll go to QB, he looks just like me.”
Zach Rutherford, the number 12 in question, shrugs it off.
“They like to say I’m too big to be a quarterback, but it doesn’t bother me much.”
There’s no two ways about it. The senior quarterback is big – in size, stature and skill.
“He makes us coaches look good a lot of times cause he makes some unreal throws,” says Price.
His skill set was on full display last Friday. The LaFollette native racked up 316 yards and four touchdowns in Campbell County’s win over Powell.
“He understands there’s a lot riding on him on Friday nights, and he handles it so well,” remarks his head coach.
In much the same way, Rutherford handled the adversity he faced his sophomore season well, too. In his first ever start at quarterback for the Cougars, he tore his meniscus and MCL, sidelining him until the playoffs.
“It kinda just puts a chip on your shoulder that you have something to prove,” says Rutherford.
“I think that’s kind of motivated Zach to the player that he is today,” adds Price. “He never takes a day off. He’s really used that as fuel to his fire to be the best player he can be and help our team be successful.”
Rutherford’s religion and faith helped him stand tall as he worked his way back from the injury.
“I trusted his plan. I figured maybe I didn’t get a sophomore season, but there would be something bigger waiting for me down the road.”
The road since has been filled with wins. Campbell County is 13-4 since the start of 2016, and well on their way to their fifth straight playoff appearance. The senior sees himself staying in the game, too.
“Maybe as a personal trainer, maybe as a coach. Even if football doesn’t work out for me as a player, I’d love to be able to benefit other people’s lives.”
His head coach, who praises his quarterback’s tremendous football IQ, agrees.
“There’s no doubt that whatever Zach chooses to do after the season, he’ll be successful at it because of the way he approaches everything.”