Jake Lacoste was expected to have a bright future as a tailback at West Albany (Albany, Ore.), but no one ever envisioned him setting a state record as a sophomore.
In just his seventh varsity start at tailback, the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder exploded for a state-record 508 yards during a 35-21 victory over Silverton (Ore.). He carried 39 times and scored five touchdowns. The previous record of 481 yards had stood since 1998.
Coach Randy Nyquist called the record "a pretty big deal. It isn't like we were playing somebody who was 0-8. They were 6-1 and No. 7 in the state. I kind of knew at halftime that he had an awfully good half. But he went out in the third quarter and went berserk."
After rushing for 289 yards in the first half, the 15-year-old LaCoste amassed 192 more yards in the third period for West Albany (6-2). He ran just twice for 27 yards in the fourth quarter before sitting out the final 10 minutes of the game.
LaCoste actually started his first varsity game at safety, but the next week he moved into the first-team tailback position. He admitted, "I'm very shocked, actually. Every time I got the ball, I just tried to run harder and harder. After each carry, I'd try to make a longer one. Some of my teammates asked me if I soaked my jersey in butter."
Nyquist expected big things from his young tailback because he had coached his two older brothers. Anthony was an All-State tailback who ran for more than 6,000 yards and played on two Class 5A state championship teams and now is a sophomore at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Jarret is a freshman on the College of Pacific track team. His father, Joe, played football at Oregon State University.
As a freshman track performer, he high jumped 6-5, long jumped 22 feet and triple jumped 43 feet.
"He runs the ball downhill and gets a lot of yards after contact," Nyquist pointed out. "I very seldom see him go down on first contact. I'm very, very pleased with his attitude and team effort. His line loves him. He's a pretty selfless kid."
LaCoste, who runs 40 yards in 4.5 seconds and has a 3.7 GPA, already is a bright college prospect.