A 6-foot-1, 180 pound sophomore who's already nailed down the starting quarterback position and starting shooting guard spot for the Lake football and basketball teams, Jared Rettig has become a big man on campus.
Yet, despite the varsity letters, the All-Northern Buckeye Conference accolades, and the highlight clips, this Walbridge product has more important things on his mind than awards — like his pure love of the game and his roots.
"Whenever I go out there onto that court or field, I'm always playing for the community, I'm always giving it my all for them," shares the 16-year-old.
|Jared Rettig and Mom,Tricia Askins
He still thinks about the Lake community, which was decimated by an EF4 tornado that ripped through the area nearly three years ago this June 6. By destroying the Lake Field House, it left the Flyer’s roundballers without a true gym of their own to call home, even though they got to temporarily play home games at Owens Community College.
"We weren't personally affected by the storm, but many of our friends were, and when you have such a small community, and something like this happens, it almost feels like it hurts everyone the same," says Rettig. "Everyone knows everyone here, and no matter what, the people in this community have each others' backs. One positive from it was seeing the community come together as one right in front of our eyes. The community has become a lot closer over the years.
"The players are pretty much playing for the community today, to give them something to be proud of. We play to get their minds off the tragedy. And when we play, it's not just our team versus another team, it feels like the whole community is in it together," he adds. "When a community like ours lives through its high school sports that community becomes even more supportive, and that's a great feeling.
"I work my hardest for my community, and my teammates and coaches," continues Rettig. "I play to get the "W" on the scoreboard for them. I play the game because I enjoy the competition, and because I love spending time with my teammates. It's just been awesome being a part of something this great. When you're a little kid, you dream of doing things like this. That's why I play the game. Getting awards is not why I play."
Rettig ranks seventh among the NBC's leading scorers' at 14.6 points per game, and he is also averaging 4.5 assists, five rebounds, and 2.5 steals.
After Lake’s 67-51 smattering over visiting NBC frontrunner Otsego last week, the Flyers are just one game out of a co-championship. In that game, the Flyers shot an unconscious 58 percent from the field (26 of 45).
Lake is now hoping that someone else can topple the Knights before the season is said and done. The Flyers are 18-2 overall, 10-2 in the conference, while Otsego is 17-2 and 11-1 heading into play last weekend.
Emerging as one of the cornerstones of the resurgent Lake program, Rettig counts among his personal highlights this winter his Flyers' debut of their brand-new field house during a season opening 44-41 victory over a powerhouse Toledo Christian team (17-2) to a packed house.
Rettig had three clutch threes in another early-season tilt against Oak Harbor (9-9) to help Lake pull away for good in the second half and win, 51-32.
Those numbers are nothing compared to the stats he put up as one of the hottest young quarterbacks to erupt onto the prep football landscape in a while.
Rettig has already broken nearly every Lake career passing record conceivable, including completions (the record was 218, Jared now has 256); yards (old record 2,945, Jared's record 4,462); and passing touchdowns (old record 24, Jared's record 49).
While there, he staked a claim to the No. 5 spot in the Ohio High School Athletic Association record book only behind other prestigious passers such as Kenton's Grant Sherman, Sherwood Fairview's Ryan Radcliff, and Sherwood Fairview's James Elchinger, on the strength of a Lake-best 32 passing TD's in a single season; 176 completions in a single season (also a Lake best); 2,838 passing yards in a single season (also a Lake best); and most notably an unheard-of 602 passing yards in a single game (a game in which he also threw for seven touchdowns, to lead Lake past Elmwood, 54-40)…all of which he accomplished as a sophomore.
He is now the owner of a JJHuddle.com Ohio Player-of-the-Week award for football, as well as the usual All-NBC and Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press accolades, but he would much rather deflect praise to his Flyer football and basketball teammates.
On the hardwood, he'd much rather talk about what he likes about the rest of the team, like fellow sophomore guard and building block for the future, Connor Bowen, who led the Flyers in that Feb. 7 romp of first-place Otsego with 22 points. Rettig calls Bowen "surreal" in the face of expectation and pressure.
And junior Jayce Vancena, whom he says is a monster on the boards. Vancena came up particularly huge down low one night, pouring in 24 points to lead all Flyers in a 99-62 dismantling of backyard rival Genoa.
Plus, Rettig has to keep up a healthy rivalry with mom, Tricia Askins, who in her own right was the reigning "Miss Lady Flyer Basketball," "Miss Lady Flyer Softball," and "Miss Lady Flyer Everything" from 1987-91.
"Yeah, we have a very friendly rivalry between each other," says Jared.
Mom was also a guard at Lake on her way to garnering four varsity letters; earning three All-Northern Lakes League and All-District first-team awards; and two MVPs while setting a still-school record of eight three-bombs in one game.
Rettig says the two are indeed so competitive, that they'll even go hard at each other during a simple game of H-O-R-S-E or a hand of cards.
"I always get teased by people that my mother has more school records than me, and that she's the better athlete in the family," continues Rettig, "But for me, it's just a very cool thing to be mentioned in the same breath as her and I always play to make my mother proud. She has taught me many ways to stay humble and level-headed when I play sports."
"I feel very honored to be taking on the responsibility of carrying on the family tradition," he says. "It gives the game even more meaning."