FOOTBALL: Consistency key to success for Rodriguez, Bulldogs this season

All Foster High quarterback Aaron Rodriguez needed was a little consistency. This season, that’s exactly what the senior standout has received.

Foster High quarterback Aaron Rodriguez entered last weekend having thrown for 11 touchdowns and run for two more.

All Foster High quarterback Aaron Rodriguez needed was a little consistency. This season, that’s exactly what the senior standout has received.

“We’ve adapted to the system,” Rodriguez said. “Last year we had to learn a whole new system again. Now that we’re comfortable in it we’re starting to do pretty well.”

Rodriguez, who has been the Bulldogs’ starter at quarterback since his sophomore season, had been forced to learn a new offensive system before every one of his seasons. That wasn’t the case this year, and the impact that continuity is having on both Rodriguez and the Bulldogs is evident.

Foster went 3-7 and 2-8 in the past two seasons. This year, the Bulldogs bolted out to a 5-1 start, one of the best beginnings in school history. Under the leadership of Rodriguez, the offense has been clicking.

Foster scored a total of 137 points through 10 games last year. This year they’re already at 137 points through five contests (not counting a forfeit win against Tyee).

“A year within the system makes a huge difference,” said Foster coach Jim Sutrick. “Aaron worked really hard with his receivers in the offseason getting the passing system down. Now the linemen has the blocking system down and we’re good to go.”

Rodriguez himself has 1,115 passing yards and 13 total touchdowns (11 passing, two rushing), after passing for 793 yards and two touchdowns all of last season.

The success is a breath of fresh air for the senior after enduring losing records his first three years at Foster.

“It was pretty hard at times,” Rodriguez said. “I had to step up as a leader. As the quarterback everybody views you that way and it’s hard sometimes because you can’t show emotion. You can’t put your head down or any of that.”

And now, the playoffs are within reach.

“Before the season we all put our minds to it, said we were going to go to the playoffs and do something this school hasn’t seen for a long time,” he said. “That’s something you say before every season, but it’s nice that we’re sticking with it this year.”

Rodriguez also starts at safety for the Bulldogs. He hopes to play in college next season and his top option at the moment is The College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn.

Foster currently trails just Lindbergh in the 2A Seamount standings, a league that’s divided among Class 2A and 3A teams. The top two 2A Seamount teams make the playoffs, while the third plays a pigtail game with a chance to earn a playoff trip.

Sutrick’s big challenge this season is teaching the Bulldogs how to keep their emotions in check when playing in big games.

“These games have league and playoff implications and they’re not used to that,” he said.

Foster takes on Hazen Oct. 15 then faces Renton and Lindbergh to close the regular season. The Bulldogs lost to those three teams by a combined 92-19 last season, so they will definitely be looking to complete the turnaround season with a little payback.

Other Foster early season standouts:

– Running back Cedric Cooper has 391 rushing yards on 68 carries (5.75 yards per carry). He’s totaled five touchdowns and has three straight 100-yard games.

– Wide receiver Gabe Gutierrez has 23 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns. Fellow receiver Tuifua Tausinga has 14 catches for 305 yards and three touchdown. Tausinga also has three sacks and a blocked field goal on defense.

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