EL DORADO — Last season, Sean Tow racked up some impressive numbers.
The running back for the Union Mine High football team rushed for 2,217 yards on 223 carries, had averages of 9.9 yards per carry and 246 yards per game and scored 20 touchdowns, ending the 2011 prep football season as one of California’s top leading rushers. Those numbers played a key role for the Diamondbacks, who finished the season with a 5-4 record and tied for second place in the Sierra Valley Conference with a 4-2 mark. One of his biggest games was against Galt, when Tow rushed for 414 yards.
In 2010, Tow rushed for 2,261 yards on 242 carries with averages of 9.3 yards per carry, 188 yards per game in addition to scoring 25 touchdowns. Tow and the D’backs rushed to a 10-2 record, won the conference crown and marched into the third round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs before losing to eventual section runner-up Calaveras. A big game for Tow that season was the conference finale against an undefeated River City squad in which he rushed for 311 yards that led to the Diamondbacks winning the conference title.
That adds up to 4,478 yards in two seasons. By the way, Tow is a senior this year with the opportunity to add more to his resume.
Tow is within running reach of the section’s all-time rushing record. According to Will DeBoard, director of communications for the section and former prep writer for The Modesto Bee for 17 years, the CalHi record book has former Grant High running back Onterrio Smith rushing for 6,178 yards from 1995-98. Former Cordova High running back James Montgomery had over 4,900 career rushing yards in three seasons in the early 2000s with the Lancers.
This season, Tow and Lincoln of Stockton running back Justin Davis could be rushing — pardon the pun — toward being the top rusher in the section. A junior, Davis has 3,696 yards the last two seasons.
Tow, who stands tall above his actual height of 5-foot, 6-inch and 165 pounds, credits his offensive line for creating the running lanes he sneaks through and rocketing for yards and touchdowns.
“They are awesome,” said Tow of the linemen. “They make things so much easier. Everyone knows what they are doing. Last year’s line was pretty much the same as the year before. This year’s line can match the intensity that last year’s line brought.”
Union Mine football coach Dave Johnson said, “While we don’t always have the biggest, faster, best physically looking line, they are always guys who will compete. They take great pride in all of our offensive success; without them, none of it would be possible. We always seem to have guys who we were not counting on, step up and contribute to our offensive line.”
Tonight, Tow is expected to run behind linemen of Hogan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Scott, Charlie Swift, Jesse Morgan and Augie Ahuna, as Union Mine opens its 2012 season at home against El Camino of Sacramento in a non-league game.
The linemen and teammates are more than happy Tow became a running back. When he started playing youth football at age 10, he wanted to be a quarterback.
“I wanted to be quarterback right off the bat,” recalled Tow. “But I fit in at running back.”
As a freshman, Tow tore up the field as a starting running on the D’backs’ junior varsity football team. Johnson, who is also the school’s athletic director, moved Tow up to the varsity level as a sophomore.
“(Tow) had the ability to play varsity as a sophomore,” Johnson said.
Tow said he learned a great deal in playing with upper classmen on the ’10 team. In particular from older brother Cody, a 2011 Union Mine High graduate who’s in select company as a winner of a state medal in wrestling. Kyle, Sean and Cody’s older brother, was also a three-sport athlete at Union Mine in the early 2000s.
“I always dreamt of being on same team as my brother, and it brought us so much closer,” said Sean.
On game days during the ’10 season, the brothers would ride in Cody’s truck listening to their playlist of songs. The one song they liked in particular was “The Boys of Fall” by country music star Kenny Chesney.
“The playlist always gets us pumped up,” Sean said.
Tow has also shined in wrestling, competing in the middle-weight classes and advancing to the state meet the last two years. He’s also played on Union Mine’s baseball team, where he batted .297 last spring. But football is his game that his talents have earned the respect of an area football coach.
“It seems like we have been facing a Tow for the last six years,” said Vista del Lago head coach Chris Jones. “Sean is a great player. I feel he is the best individual player in our league. I enjoy watching him on film and live because he does so many things for his team over the course of a game; running the ball, catching passes, kicking, playing defense.”
Tow, who carries a 3.0 grade point average, and Johnson have been notified by the following colleges by sending information letters to the running back: Norte Dame, Harvard, San Diego State, UCLA, Missouri, Stanford, Iowa State, Nebraska, Princeton, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Humboldt State and several smaller schools.
“I’ve received letters from them, and they are getting my information,” Tow said.
When Union Mine marches onto its field against El Camino, Tow and company will follow the age-old approach toward another successful season — one game at a time.
“We just have to get our team going,” Tow said. “Once we start going and get our team together, the winning will come.”
Johnson added, “He is a great kid who is super competitive and has the talent to match.”
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or email@example.com. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.