The Press Newspaper
Lake football coach Bob Olwin had no idea that sophomore quarterback Jared Rettig was going to have a record-setting night last Friday against Elmwood.
Rettig, who missed the Flyers’ previous two and a half games with a head injury, took the field against the Royals and promptly threw an interception on his first pass.
“Bad read,” Olwin said. “He was a little nervous and he didn’t go through his progressions and got into trouble. He settled down and started hitting some passes.”
Did he ever.
Rettig (6-foot-1, 180) completed 33 of 47 attempts for 602 yards and seven touchdowns in Lake’s 54-40 Northern Buckeye Conference victory over Elmwood. Rettig’s yardage total tied for the fourth-most in state history.
The interception, it turned out, was just a blip on the radar.
“I got a little antsy with the throw and tried to force it into a tight window, and it got picked off,” Rettig said. “I tried to throw the ‘streak’ and it wasn’t there. Coach (Olwin) said, ‘What are you doing?’ We talked about what I saw and what I was reading. We got it all figured out. The rest of the game tells you that. I know how explosive this offense is.”
Rettig and his teammates are still adjusting to Lake’s (2-4, 1-2) new spread offense this season under Olwin, who has tutored some of the finest quarterbacks in the state. Rettig replaced a senior last season and started the last five games of the year.
“He’s still adjusting,” Olwin said. “He picks it up pretty quick. Like any high school kid, he has to read coverages better, but he has running ability and he has a good release and good accuracy. I told him when I saw him at a basketball game I thought I could help him. I can mold quarterbacks. I’ve done it a lot.”
Olwin, who has been a coach for 30 years, was the head coach at Sherwood Fairview and mentored Ryan Radcliff, James Elchinger and Kirk Jesse on the nuances of his spread offense. Radcliff, a senior and a three-year starter at Central Michigan, is the fourth-leading career passer in Ohio high school history, throwing for 11,038 yards from 2004-07.
Prior to last Friday – a quarterback from Kenton threw for nearly 700 yards last week – Radcliff’s 678 passing yards against Ayersville in 2006 was the single-game state record. Radcliff was also No. 2 on the list, throwing for 650 yards against Wayne Trace in 2007.
Elchinger was No. 3 on the list after throwing for 625 yards against Woodmore in 2008, and Jesse threw for 602 yards against Ayersville in 2005. Rettig tied that mark last Friday against Elmwood.
“I don’t really think about it that much,” Rettig said. “I don’t like thinking about things in the past. Yeah, it was a good accomplishment, but I like to think about the next opponent.”
Olwin, whose offense utilizes a five-receiver set, admitted he can be pretty tough on his quarterbacks. He said Rettig takes instruction well.
“We’ve had different-styled kids and they’ve all had success,” the coach said. “Jared’s a pretty dedicated kid. He wants to set state records. He’s going to have a lot of success in the spread as long as he stays healthy. He has some good wide receivers around him, and he has me griping at him all the time.
“He understands the kids I’ve had in the past and what I’ve been able to do with those kids. He identifies that he can be as good as past quarterbacks and he takes (criticism) constructively. He understands the way I am and that I want him to be perfect.”
Rettig said he enjoys directing the Flyers’ no-huddle attack, and he loves the fact that he can pick and choose so many receivers to throw to on every play.
“It’s strictly fast-paced,” Rettig said. “I love it because I can throw the ball every single play. I always wanted that.”
Rettig threw for a school-record 452 yards — all in the first half — in Lake’s 55-23 rout of Swanton in the season opener. Following a loss to rival Northwood, he suffered a head injury on a touchdown run with eight minutes left in the first half against Northview. He sat out losses to Eastwood and Genoa before returning last Friday and helping the Flyers end a four-game losing streak.
“We needed it, no doubt about it,” Olwin said of the win. “It was really important for our kids to have some success and get rewards for all the hard work and dedication they’ve put into the program since I took over. It comes down to the kids. I just gripe at them, that’s all.”
In less than three and a half games, Rettig has completed 85 of 124 passes (68.5 percent) for 1,436 yards and 17 touchdowns with five interceptions. Senior receivers Chris Salaz and Ben Swartz had 181 and 124 receiving yards, respectively, and both scored two touchdowns against Elmwood. On the year, Salaz has 36 catches for 636 yards followed by Connor Bowen (32 for 304), Swartz (27 for 495), and Adam Duncan (16 for 270). Salaz has eight touchdowns, Duncan five, and Swartz six.
With numbers like those, Rettig said he is happy to listen to his head coach gripe.
“I take all of it in,” Rettig said. “Obviously I want to go to the next level and he’s sent guys to the next level. He knows what he’s talking about, so I listen to him.”