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Catching up with South Tama alumni
November 8, 2017

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Sports Editor's Note: This fall Allison Graham of the Toledo Chronicle and Darvin Graham of Trojan Country Radio (getlocalsports.net) caught up with four STC alumns: Bubba Rutledge, Jerry Lowe, Mitch Thede and Ian Slagle. Rutledge, Lowe and Slagle are on the Grand View University football roster this year, while Thede played his freshman year for Simpson College. All four are former members of the South Tama County football team.

Continued from the Tama News Herald (Nov. 3)

Darvin: Okay, and you guys growing up, I'm sure a lot of you were football fans when you were kids and you were coming up. Is there an athlete or a football player that you looked up to when you were growing up or that you look up to now?

Bubba: Oh well, when I was growing up and stuff, I heard about my uncle, Brandon Rutledge all the time and just the class they had in '95 and going to the dome and state championship. And when I grew up, I grew up going to the South Tama games during the Hunter Elle's, that era. Brandon Horbach, Hunter Elle's era and how good they were. And then finally, my eighth grade freshman year, was Eric Lux, Kyle Stephenson, Sam Cooter, so that's when I mean, from there I just knew I wanted to keep it ruling. Keep the good things going and try to bring the community together.

Ian: I guess when I was younger, some of the people I looked up to, was my brother and his grade, because I went and watched all their football games and the success that they had and that was just one of the things that I wanted to have that success too. So, those are just some of the people that I would look up to, is that grade.

Jerry: I didn't really grow up playing football, but when I first came to the US, and I started watching football and one time, we were watching the NFL games and I guess wanted to run the bags, run the ball pretty good. I was like, that guy is pretty good. My dad told me, "I think you should watch a video of Barry Sanders." So, I went on YouTube and watched a video of him and then I just wanted to be like the guy. He was pretty quick, was shifty, and he wasn't big. He wasn't tall, but he played the game pretty good. So, I always looked up to Barry Sanders. I want to be like him some day.

Even though I will never be like him, but at least I will try.

Mitch: I would say when I was a freshman, the seniors that were on the team, like Kyle Stephenson, Eric Lux, and Sam Kuhter, they had a pretty good team and they all worked hard at it and I wanted our team to be good like theirs. Maybe better, and I just wanted to push it farther than what they did and possibly to the state championship.

Allison: So, since several of you looked up to people who came before you in the South Tama program, what advice do you have for kids who will probably use your names as people that they want to be like?

Jerry: All the time I go back home, I have a lot of kids. I met some kids, because I work at a grocery store and a lot of kids always talk to me, like when they grow up, they want to be like me. I always said, it sound pretty good, but I want them to be better than me when they grow up someday, because I want to come back and watch South Tama and I want to see them winning games and beating other teams. And I'm hoping to see a lot of D1 athletes coming out of this school, because I feel like in the coming years we're going to have a pretty good program and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm excited.

Bubba: Yeah, kind of like what Jerry said. I always remember when I was little and I always ask the big kids, "How did you get so good?" Or, "I want to be like you." Or stuff like that, so you got to know what you want and you got to go after it. You got to work hard towards it and you just can't give up. You'll have some rough days, but in the end, it'll all work out and things will be great.

Ian: I agree with Bubba on that one. If you want to go out and get something, you have to work hard for it and that's something huge that I think all four of us did. We wanted to go and play college football and so we worked hard at it. We did everything we could to achieve that goal.

Mitch: Yeah, I agree with Bubb and Ian. You just gotta work hard at what you want, so if you want to be successful, you got to put in the work and effort and it's not easy. You'll have to overcome obstacles.

Bubba: And another thing I remember was eighth grade year. That was the first time I ever had my first weight room experience with VanDyke. It was probably ... At that moment in time, it was probably one of the worst things I probably ever experienced, but I knew it was what had to be done. So, I always go into the weight room. Never missed a day in the summer and I always pushing, pushing myself in the weight room.

Jerry: Yeah, one of the things that really made me successful in high school sport, was really being humble and always doing the right thing and once you are off the field, out of school, you got to watch what you do at home too. You always want to make sure you do the good things. You don't want to do something bad that will affect your teammate and that can lead you into being suspended or anything like that.

Darvin: All four of you guys had an opportunity to play under now head coach, Nate Dorn. He was an assistant for you guys when you were at South Tama. Coach Dorn is in his second year right now. What do you think that Coach Dorn brings to the table for the current South Tama team?

Bubba: I love Doran. Doran's my favorite guy. I looked up to Doran ever since I've been a freshman and I'm always ... He's always giving me great advice and he's a heck of a guy. You just got to trust the process. He's got great things coming. I know he does. I mean, I remember in high school, when he was the defensive coordinator, we'd always be drawing up plays and schemes and everything and he's always got another thing coming. You never know what he's got up his sleeve. He's a great guy, great guy.

Ian: And he's one of those guys that he can get everything out of a kid. He'll get kids to give their 100% and if you want to get extra work in, he'll stay after and get extra work with you. In the summers, if you want to get up early, go work out with him, he'll put you through a workout. He gets kids to give it 100%.

Mitch: Yeah, he brings the juice. He's energetic about anything, in the classroom, on the field. And he pushes you to be the best that you can and that's why I think, we had a good team in high school. He just pushed us to the limit and we just performed.

Bubba: And I always remember before football game, in the locker room and Doran ... All the other coaches would be talking, talking, and you just whatever, let's get to this game. And then, here comes Doran with a speech before we walk out. He could get you to run through a brick wall. I mean, he'd get you to do anything.

Ian:A total different atmosphere when he's speaking.

Bubba: It's definitely different.

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