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Catching up with South Tama alumni

Part One

November 1, 2017
By Allison Graham and Darvin Graham - Sports Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

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

Darvin: We have a special edition interview with some South Tama alums joining myself and Allison Graham, Sports Editor at the Tama News Herald and Toledo Chronicle, and I'm here joined by a trio of Grand View Viking football players, and a former Simpson Storm football player, Jerry Lowe, Ian Slagle, Mitch Thede, and Bubba Rutledge.

Guys, thanks so much for taking some time to chat with us, and I'm gonna quick start off if you could all pass the mic around, could you introduce yourselves and tell us your graduating class from South Tama, and also what position you're playing right now.

Article Photos

Jerry Lowe, Ian Slagle and Bubba Rutledge

Jerry: My name is Jerry Lowe, and I graduated in 2016, and I play running back at Grand View University.

Ian: My name is Ian Slagle, I graduated in 2015, and I play O-line here at Grand View.

Mitch: My name is Mitch Thede, I graduated in 2016, and I played D-End at Simpson.

Bubba: And I'm Bubba Rutledge, and I play outside linebacker at Grand View University.

Allison: Thanks, guys. So for the three of you who play for Grand View University, Ian, Jerry, and Bubba, how has it been for you to still be on a team together and do you think it has helped you adjust to college football, versus high school football?

Bubba: Well, beings that ... I mean we're all on the same team, but since those two guys are on offense and Thede are on offense and I play defense, I really don't associate with them at all. I mean our practices are pretty split and they have their own scout defense and we have our own scout offense, so it's nice that we're all on the same team and I get to see Jerry scoring touchdowns and stuff, but I'm just happy to be with these guys.

Jerry: It's been great. It's pretty interesting to have like people that you went to school with and play high school football with and have them on the same team playing on Saturdays. It's because you always know that there's somebody always there to support you, even if like ... Because not everybody on the team is gonna like you or love you, but you know, the guys you grew up with and you came all the way here with, you know they will be there to support you.

Ian: Again, like Jerry said, it's nice having guys that you've played with throughout high school come in and play again with you in college. And like also, like Bubba said, we don't practice together really because he's on the other end of the field, it's kind of hard for us to just get along on the field I guess, because we don't see a whole lot of each other.

Darvin: And then Mitch, I'm gonna kind of turn it to you as well. You spent your freshman year on the Simpson squad, and you were the only South Tama grad on that roster. What was it like for you to not have any classmates or anybody maybe that you knew very well, or maybe you did. I don't know if you knew any former opponents that you played with there. What was that experience like for you at Simpson?

Mitch: It was definitely hard at first. The first week, I didn't really know anyone, and everyone was just getting used to each other. But then as the season went on, you just kind of had a friend group that you would talk to, and those are some of my good friends that I hang out with all the time at Simpson.

Darvin: What are some of the differences between the high school football game and college football, what you're playing right now?

Jerry: No, there's a pretty big difference. In high school ... In college, the game is played in a faster way than high school, and people at college level are like ... They are smarter and they know what they are doing. They are not like running all over the field like in high school. In high school, everybody just ... Oh, playoffs, everybody just tried to look for, the press of the ball, but in college, everything's organized, and if you do a mistake, you get in trouble for it. But in high school, pretty much your coach just say don't do the same mistake anymore.

Sometimes, I still remember my freshman year, they put me in there and I went the wrong way, but my coach was pretty mad, but he later apologized to me that he just tried to get me going and that I don't have to do mistake at a college level. So I feel like there's a lot of difference, but I'm getting used to it.

Ian: Again, agreeing with Jerry, the biggest thing that for me when I came into college was the speed of the game. It was just so much faster for me up front on the O-line. All the D-line were way faster than what they were in high school and it was just a huge difference, especially because I started out at tackle, and the defensive ends were way faster than what they were in high school.

Bubba: One of the biggest differences from the high school to football is every running back in college is like Jerry, and it's ... So it's a little different from high school. I never had to tackle Jerry in high school, but now, now I gotta tackle some Jerry's and I know how the other teams feel. Also though, like, practices, in high school, I hated always padding up for practices, and in college, like this last week, we only wore helmets out for practice, so that's great.

Mitch: I think the biggest thing for me was how much faster it was than high school. There's a lot more plays, like we didn't ... When in high school we didn't have all the plays that we had on defense, all the stunts, all the fronts. It's just ... You have a lot more to remember, a lot more responsibility.

Darvin: Have you guys felt like at this point, have you felt like you've been able to make those adjustments to the speed of the game?

Jerry: Yeah, I feel like I'm getting used to it and ... Since high school, since my senior year after I got surgery, when I came in my freshman year, I wasn't that fast, but I keep working on my speed, and now I feel like I can't lose speed, and my knee is pretty much all healed up, so all the time we play at practice, I make sure I go 100%. It's not like high school. Like high school, usually you don't go 100%, and sometimes the coaches don't care or even if they care, like you don't listen to them. But in college, you gotta take it pretty seriously, so going 100% during practice or 110% all the time when it haves like coming game time on Saturday.

Bubba: And like, I feel another like ... Since we're getting our scholarships to play here, I feel like it's a job, so everything ... I read the playbook, I read everything, take everything to a whole another level, just because I feel it's my duty to serve my football team and help it out. That's just how I adjusted quicker.

Darvin: Okay, and then next question I got. I'm going to ask ... This one is going to be for Jerry. Jerry, from what I hear, you have a teammate that's also from Sierra Leone. Is that right? So, what has your experience been like having another team member from Sierra Leone on the roster with you?

Jerry: It's kind of interesting, because the first day I met him was we're moving the fort and then the next day, we were doing a conditioning test and he was in the same group with me. He was standing right by me and we were talking back and forth and I didn't know he was from Sierra Leone, so he just asked me, it's like "Where are you from?" Because the way I speak. I told him I was from Sierra Leone. He was like, "Yeah, I'm from Sierra Leone too."

I was very happy to hear that. It's pretty great to have somebody that came from these same country as you. He'd been here longer than me. He came here since he was a kind and only been here for six years now, but all the time during practice, if we're on the same side of the field, like we'll talk sometimes. We'll talk our language, so it's pretty good to have somebody that speak your language.

His parents, sometimes cook African meal and he usually invite me and I go over and we eat and...

Darvin: I should explain really quick. Ian and Jerry, you guys are both roommates, right?

Jerry: Yeah.

Darvin: Yeah, yeah, so you get a little bit of the benefits maybe.

See more in the Tama News Herald on November 3



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