It's understandable that college recruiters haven't caught the scent of Pendleton (Ore.) High School's Jacob Rickman. After all, the running back is only a sophomore and he's hardly a prototypical high-wattage star, hailing from a small town of only just more than 17,000 citizens. Those limitations aside, they might be paying closer attention after he bulldozed his way to eight touchdowns in a single game.
According to the Portland Oregonian and East Oregonian, Rickman racked up his head-shaking touchdown total against Ontario, rushing for 357 yards in a 69-61 victory against Ontario (Ore.) High. Rickman ran for seven touchdowns and added an eighth on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Pendleton quarterback Lathan Alger.
[Rewind video: High school running back hurdles defenders for touchdown]
It's not surprising that those eight touchdowns would be a Pendleton school record. What is a bit more surprising is that the previous record was set by Rickman just a week earlier, when he had six touchdowns on 237 yards in a rout of La Grande (Ore.) High.
"I was a little bit cautious because it was varsity but I'm pleasantly surprised," Rickman told the East Oregonian of his early varsity success, which included 940 rushing yards through his first five games.
His coach was more than happy with the production, largely because his team needed all of it to hold on against Ontario. "He's starting to do the kind of stuff that makes him pretty special," Sanders said. "He learned how to cut back [Friday]. He has to develop more running-back skills, but the raw talent is there, big-time. He's got a great stride. And he's ripped. He's a very built kid."
Pendleton led 42-20 at halftime, but struggled to contain Ontario's steady offensive thrust. The Buckaroos were victimized mostly by Ontario quarterback Andrew Maeda, who passed for 355 yards, and Ontario actually outgained Pendleton with 602 yards.
Still, the Buckaroos were able to hold on for the win thanks to 598 yards in total offense and a heavy dose of clock-management football thanks to Rickman's running.
"The problem is if you score quick, you're out there all night on defense," Pendleton coach Mitch Sanders told the Oregonian. "Ontario is pretty darn good on offense, and we were pretty sloppy on defense, so it was ugly."
Nevertheless, the Pendleton coach has bright hopes for his young breakout running back.
"He has another gear," Sanders told the Oregonian. "He's also a tough runner, so when he breaks a tackle, he's gone."
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