Sehome senior Tyler Hruby’s list of game duties seem endless.
On offense he’ll line up in the slot, catching passes or blocking. He’ll also move down to tight end, where he can catch or block. Hruby’s even a prime candidate for a sweep around the end at least once or twice a game.
Defensively, the senior plays outside linebacker. He’s been paramount in both stuffing the run game and shutting down underneath routes.
“He appears ordinary and plays extraordinary,” Sehome coach Bob Norvell said in a phone interview. “Watching him play, he’ll stuff a big lineman and he’ll also chase down running backs. He is amazing. He just does those things, and those are the kind of kids you want playing for you.”
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Hruby will lead the Mariners into a must-win game against Burlington-Edison at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at Civic Stadium. The winner will most likely clinch the Northwest Conference’s final district playoff berth. Hruby will undoubtedly play a large role in the outcome, but the Mariners’ two-way player wasn’t always destined to be a standout.
Hruby’s rise to becoming one of Sehome’s team leaders and overall top players began with a conversation he and Norvell shared following his sophomore season.
Norvell had coached Hruby in youth football and knew the type of ball player he could become, but the Sehome coach also knew playing time would be something Hruby had to work for.
“We got to talk before his junior year and said, ‘There are seniors in front of you, and if you want to make it on the team, you are going to have to outwork and outplay them,’ and that’s exactly what he did,” Norvell said.
Hruby, who’s run for 100 yards and a TD and also ranks second on the team with 18 receptions for 179 yards and a score, dedicated himself to making an impact on Sehome’s up-and-coming team through his work ethic and leadership. And Norvell took notice.
“Tyler has really become a leader, as far as coming in during the summer and lifting,” Norvell said. “He gets us out throwing seven-on-seven. That has been paramount, and he’s been together with some of the other guys on the team leading the charge, and the younger guys look to him and lean on him.”
Hruby’s leadership and pure desire to help the team win extends to his willingness to fill a multitude of roles.
He doesn’t quite have the dynamic speed of Taylor Rapp, Norvell said, but he is the type of player that a team needs to prevent the opposition from keying on one player. And on defense, Norvell estimated Hruby’s factored into nearly half of Sehome’s forced turnovers this fall.
“I really enjoy the diversity and being able to do everything,” said Hruby of his numerous roles in a phone interview. “To be such a big part of the team and to hustle and try my best, whatever they need me to do, I do it.”
Against Burlington-Edison, Sehome hopes Hruby can help the Mariners recreate some of last year’s late magic. Sehome (3-5, 2-4 NWC 2A/3A) has the same record this year heading into the final game of the regular season as they had last year. The Mariners won, advanced to districts after winning a Kansas tie-breaker and beat Lakewood to claim their first state berth since 1999.
Sehome has momentum working in its favor after earning a much-needed home win against Ferndale last week that put a halt to a three-game losing skid.
“We were all super excited after that win,” Hruby said. “Our defense on their big runs was pretty awesome, and offensively, we were running the ball good. Aaron (Nichols) was throwing the ball really well.”
The Mariners can earn the No. 4 seed with a win and a Blaine loss. If the Borderites were to beat Lynden, Sehome, Burlington-Edison and Blaine would play a Kansas tie-breaker.