Jed Schleimer entered 2015 with a world of expectations on his shoulders and marginal substance suggesting he could meet those.
“Liam (Short) was the main guy last year,” Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said before the season began, “and Izaiah (Schwinden) before that and Levi Wigg and Jake Schleimer before that. Now Jed is kind of the main guy.”
Even more pressure faced Jed given the prolific Mount Baker running careers brothers Joe, Jake and Jim Schleimer had years before. Jed broke out toward the end of his sophomore season, but there was no telling how he’d do as Baker’s featured back.
How’s a school record 2,511-yard, 36-touchdown season for handling pressure?
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Schleimer assembled one of the best seasons running the football in Whatcom County history and has been selected The Bellingham Herald’s All-Whatcom County Football Player of the Year. Squalicum coach Nick Lucey, for guiding Squalicum to an 11-1 season, a 2A/3A Northwest Conference title and a state quarterfinal berth, has been selected Coach of the Year.
“At the start of the season I didn’t really know what to expect,” Jed said. “Last year I had a more mediocre-type year, but as the season progressed this year I really felt comfortable with how I was able to run the ball. It kind of clicked and just got better and better as the season went along.”
Jed didn’t waste time showing what he could do with the bulk of the carries.
Before the game in warmups, I just felt like it was a normal game, but as the game progressed with long run after long run it was like, ‘Whoa, this is pretty easy.’
Mount Baker’s Jed Schleimer on record-setting 521-yard rushing night against Nooksack Valley
He opened with a 161-yard, one-touchdown effort against Class 2A State Playoffs semifinalists Sedro-Woolley before rushing for a combined 469 yards and seven touchdowns during Weeks 2 and 3.
Then came the record-setting night.
With the help of a strong offensive line that featured two all-state players in Kolton Zender and T.J. Bass, the junior back ran for a Washington state record 521 yards on 21 carries during a Week 4 home win against Nooksack Valley. Jed scored six times on runs of 35, 37, 55, 75, 77, 78 yards.
“Before the game in warmups, I just felt like it was a normal game,” Schleimer said, “but as the game progressed with long run after long run it was like, ‘Whoa, this is pretty easy.’ During the game people were telling me, ‘You had 500 yards.’ I didn’t believe them. I thought maybe 300. ... It felt pretty special to break the record.”
11.4 Schleimer’s average yards per rush during 2015
Jed the rest of the season had four 200-yard-plus rushing performances, and two other times he ran for more than 100 yards all doing so using an enthralling blend of speed and physicality.
Jed only got to watch his brother Jake run the football. Joe and Jim are much older, but he’s been told he and his brothers endorse a bruising style.
“I started learning (hard running) in sixth grade, watching Jake play,” Schleimer said. “He ran like that, like there is no one in front of him. Last year I played with Liam Short, and he was one physical dude. Watching them, I learned how to be a physical football player and how to run the ball hard.”
While the season surpassed even Jed’s expectations, he gave all the credit to his offensive line.