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Faces in KS: Madden Rutherford

Rutherford is back after leading Louisburg to 16-4 record last two years. (photo: Andy Brown)
By: Hunter Corneliusen w/ Chet Kuplen
Jun 26, 2019

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If you have been following Louisburg Football the past three years you have most likely become familiar with the name Madden Rutherford. This fall will be the senior quarterback’s third consecutive season starting under center for Coach Robert Ebenstein and the Wildcats.

Rutherford currently boasts an impressive 16-4 career record as the starting quarterback. Last year he led Louisburg to a Frontier League title with a 10-1 record. The Wildcats only loss came to eventual 4A State Champion Bishop Miege, a team that nobody in 4A or 4A-I has been able to touch. 

As a junior in 2018 he threw for 1100 yards with 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions while also adding another 354 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. The effort earned him all-league and all state honors, including second team non-senior honors from Sports in Kansas. In addition to his quarterbacking Rutherford also garnered first-team all-league honors as a punter. Rutherford is one of the states top punters.  Rutherford was also named to the honorable mention Sports in Kansas non-senior team as a sophomore after he amassed 988 yards of offense and 10 touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3 ½ and weighing 195-pounds, Rutherford size fits him well for the quarterback position.  However, when asked about his game it was not his physical traits he referred to.

“I believe my mind is my greatest asset as a football player,” Rutherford stated. “I can understand one concept and apply it to different situations. I really enjoy talking about and learning different schemes and concepts with Coach E and Coach Lohse.”

It is safe to say his mind is definitely strong off the field as well as he is a 4.0 student and currently holds an ACT score of 32.

As one sport specialization is becoming more common these days, Rutherford certainly does not fit that bill. In fact, he is planning on becoming one of the few four sport athletes in the 2019-2020 school year.

“I play football, basketball, baseball, and I will do track my senior year too,” he said. “I played forward and guard in basketball and led the team in rebounds.  In baseball, I pitch and play various positions for LHS. During the summer, I play for Building Champions and pitch/play outfield. I plan to try track in the spring, but I’m not sure which events I will participate in yet.”

In baseball, he is a two-time all-league player and a tough out at the plate as he batted over .400 both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Currently, Rutherford is exercising both of his options to play at the next level. Rutherford was a All-4A honorable mention pick from Sports in Kansas this spring.

“Currently I am getting looked at by schools for both baseball and football,” stated Rutherford. “I don’t know which path I’m going to take in college yet, but I want to play at the highest level I possibly can! I’m going to major in either biology or medicine.”

For the time being Rutherford and his teammates still are working toward their goals of defending their Frontier League title and winning a state title.

After graduating a key senior class, the Wildcats return four starters on offense and three on defense. Some key seniors returning are all-state lineman Brayden White, wide receiver Michael Waldron, lineman Garrett Harding, and running back/linebacker Charlie Koontz.

“Louisburg football has a toughness and grit that is instilled during vigorous summer workouts and throughout the season,” Rutherford said of his team. “Although we graduated a talented senior class, our younger guys are working hard to step up and fill those holes.  That tough mindset is why we have a chance to make a run.”

Louisburg will also have a new look this year as they added a new artificial surface to their field adding a Kansas Turf field in the off-season. 

Chet Kuplen, Founder/CEO of Sports in Kansas, on Rutherford

"Louisburg had a heck of a run last year and it created a lot of excitement around their community as it always does. A lot of the talk was Austin Moore last year as it should have been but they had a very solid cast of players around him that made them the team they were, Rutherford being one of those. He's not the fastest or strongest kid you're going to see out there but he's a multiple sport athlete with great size with a high sports IQ. Wouldn't surprise me to see him recruited at both punter and quarterback, he's also got baseball as an option. Not many starting QB's we come across have a 32 ACT and a 4.0 GPA.  I know he's serious about playing at the next level from some of the stuff he has been doing in the off-season, especially with workouts with Kody Cook (former Louisburg product that was a walk-on starter WR/QB at KSU). Louisburg kids have had to earn it in recent memory going under the radar (Garret Griffin to the NFL w/ one offer to Air Force, Cook etc) and Madden might be the next in line. Brayden White and him are definitely two 4A players I have my eye on this season."

Q&A w/ Rutherford

How did you get involved in football?

I played youth football through FCCJC K-6th grade before playing for my middle school.  I  played for FBU in 7th and 8th grade also. I always liked it as a younger kid, but I started to love it in high school.

What are your goals this season?

Our goals are the same as last year, to win another Frontier League Championship and win a State Championship.

Do you guys have a shot to make a run this year?

Louisburg football has a toughness and grit that is instilled during vigorous summer workouts and throughout the season. Although we graduated a talented senior class, our younger guys are working hard to step up and fill those holes.  That tough mindset is why we have a chance to make a run.

What makes you such a force as a player?

I believe my mind is my greatest asset as a football player. I can understand one concept and apply it to different situations. I really enjoy talking about and learning different schemes and concepts with Coach E and Coach Lohse.

What’s the atmosphere like to play football on Friday night for your school and town?

Louisburg is an electric place on Friday nights! Nearly the whole town comes out to support the Wildcats, and it makes all of us players feel proud to wear the purple and white. One of my favorite parts of the game is actually afterwards when we high five all the fans on the field and thank them for coming.

For anyone that hasn’t seen one of your games, why come to one?

I think you should come to a game to see us compete. It doesn’t matter if the team we’re playing is undefeated or hasn’t won a game yet, my teammates and I play our hardest on every down.

Who are other key players on your team?

All the players have a role on this team, and when everyone does their job we will find success. Brayden White, Michael Waldron, Garrett Harding, and Charlie Koontz are the other senior returning starters who I expect good leadership out of.

Favorite thing about football?

I love the competition. I’ve always been a competitive person,  so sports became one of the biggest parts of my life. Football is also very rewarding in the way that it creates lasting relationships with your teammates and coaches.

Do you play any other sports, tell us about that, what other positions do you play?

I play football, basketball, baseball, and I will do track my senior year too. I played forward and guard in basketball, and lead the team in rebounds.  In baseball, I pitch and play various positions for LHS. During the summer, I play for Building Champions and pitch/ play outfield. I plan to try track in the spring, but I’m not sure which events I will participate in yet.

What is it like to play for your coach?

Coach E has been one of the most influential people during my high school career. His wit and sarcasm made me laugh every day and even shaped my own sense of humor. His passion for his students and players is obvious, and people want to try hard for him. Coach Lohse is also a very supportive coach and wants the best for his players. His experience playing quarterback has been a great resource for my game.

What did you and the team do in the off-season to become better?

We are heavy in the weights sessions right now! There is always great attendance and the work ethic is outstanding too. We just wrapped up our team camp and people are starting to mesh together well. I also played on Emp1re’s 7v7 team to keep getting QB work in through the winter.

What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?

Currently I am getting looked at by schools for both baseball and football. I don’t know which path I’m going to take in college yet, but I want to play at the highest level I possibly can! I’m going to major in either biology or medicine.

Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?

If I’m not playing a sport, my brother or sister probably is. My family always supports each other at our events, especially my parents. They always do what they have to do, and it means a lot that they are there supporting us. I also love to hang out with my grandparents as much as possible; they are great supporters of me as well. My friends and I like to watch sports on TV, play video games, or just hang out together.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years, I would love to still have sports be a part of my life. I will also have received a solid education and surrounded myself with great people that will help me find the next stage of success in my life.

Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?

My favorite subject in high school has been chemistry, but I enjoy all the science classes. I am a driven student, and I take all the honors classes I can. I currently have a 4.0 GPA and my best ACT score so far is a 32.

Who is your role model?

Sports have been such a large part of my life, and all of my coaches have made an impact on me. Coach Grandpa Goodwin helped shape me into a baseball player, but he also taught me a lot about life. A good handshake goes a long way. Coach E and Coach Lohse saw potential in me early to grow into the quarterback for our Wildcats. I appreciate their belief in me and their examples of working hard towards your goals.

Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?

Miss B’s is my favorite! The food is great and tastes even better after a scrimmage or morning practice.

One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?

I can sing pretty well. I sing based off of pitches that I hear, so I’m not super good at reading sheet music. However, if you play a song or melody for me to hear one time, I can replicate it!

Anything else to add?

Check out Louisburg Football on our new turf field this season! Thanks for reading my story!