Running Wild

—Photos by Wollesen Photography East Sac County’s Garret Bruce runs the ball earlier this season for the Raider. Bruce leads Class 1A in rushing.

Garret Bruce takes a relentless — yet selfless — approach to football, which has resulted in one of the area’s best overall seasons to date on the gridiron.

The East Sac County senior running back has been a stalwart for the Raiders on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for the past three years on the gridiron.

“Garret is a very special and exceptional person on and off the field,” said East Sac County head coach Eric McCollough. “He’s one of the best we’ve ever seen here. He’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime kids (to coach).

“He is self-driven to have success.”

In his final campaign as a Raider, the 185-pound running back has been among the best in the state. Bruce ranks fourth in rushing yards (1,365) and second in attempts (231) for all of Iowa, and leads both categories in Class 1A.

Bruce has also scored 12 times.

The Raiders (3-4 overall, 1-2 Class 1A, District 9) aren’t quite where they want to be record-wise, but Bruce has been a steady force in the offensive attack.

“My offensive line has done a good job this season of making holes up front and pushing the pile, keeping me moving forward,” Bruce said. “I’ve shared my personal goals with my line, and they’re just as motivated to get my goals accomplished as I am for myself, which is a great thing.”

The 5-foot-9 running back has rushed for over 200 yards in four of his last six games, and has carried the ball more than 30 times in six different contests.

Bruce is averaging 33 carries and 195 yards per contest. His biggest game of the season came in Week 6 against Cherokee, when he toted the ball 37 times for 281 yards and two scores. He had a four-touchdown game in Week 4.

“We question ourselves as coaches sometimes with all of his carries,” McCollough said. “But he just seems to get stronger and stronger as the game goes on. His preparation and conditioning are outstanding.

“Being a senior, he understands how to avoid the direct hit. His attitude makes him special.”

For his career, Bruce has carried the ball 456 times for 2,549 yards and 27 TDs.

“He was a 1,000-yard back last season, but we’ve seen him grow,” McCollough said. “He has shown outstanding leadership, and has really put the team first. He’s really grown into the team aspect.

“He’s always positive with the guys, and knows success wouldn’t come without everyone.”

Dating back to last season, Bruce has accumulated over 100 yards in 14 of the last 16 games, and has seven multiple-touchdown contests.

Bruce has also been a threat on defense, recording 24 tackles, 3.5 for loss and one fumble recovery. In his career, Bruce has 92.5 tackles and 9.5 for loss. He has four sacks, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries as well.