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Cameron Smith

Washington RB plays with broken leg, leads team to league title

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

In a preseason preview of Cascade Christian (Wash.) High School's football team, a photo of senior stars was highlighted by running back Tyler Walrath, No. 37 in the photo below, leaping through the air. Given the angle of the camera, Walrath almost appeared to be flying through the air like Superman. While Walrath can't fly, one could be excused for feeling he might still be a man of steel after the senior star ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns with a broken leg on Friday.

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That's right, Walrath broke the century mark and accounted for two touchdowns on a broken tibia, helping the undefeated Cougars crush rival Orting (Wash.) 55-6, officially claiming the Nisqually League title in the process. Perhaps more amazingly, Walrath said his leg felt fine after the game, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

"It's 100 percent -- not even a bruise," he told the News Tribune. "I feel amazing."

It's not like Walrath broke his leg during the game and kept playing on it, either. The senior knew he was entering the game with a broken leg, which he suffered during his team's Oct. 22 victory when a Life Christian player fell on his shin. Walrath spent the entire week watching football practice from the sideline except for one precautionary workout, then suited up on game day and showed the same explosiveness he had when completely healthy.

Walrath's run on the first play of the second half showcased his ability to push beyond pain on game day. The senior back took a handoff and broke through the line for a 71-yard rushing touchdown, then took a seat for most of the remainder of the game with Cascade's lead firmly established.

For those who know him, Walrath's toughness isn't a huge surprise. In fact, given his other accomplishments, his performance on Friday was almost expected.

"He's taken his game to another level," Cascade Christian coach Randy Davis told the News Tribune.

And Friday's performance was just one more step toward the program's eventual goal of a state title, a mark which will feel eminently more achievable if Walrath can keep bearing the pain on game days. Earlier this year, the senior said he and his teammates knew what they had to do to reach that goal.

"[It's about] taking each game one step at a time, but keeping the long-term goal in mind, as well," Walrath told the News Tribune. ... "We're starting to have the mentality to keep the bar high and never let it drop below the standard we know we're capable of. I love it. It makes the season more fun."

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