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Jesuit’s Rutherford is all Family Business Jesuit’s Rutherford is all Family Business
Like His Dad Before Him, Jesuit’s Isaiah Rutherford — An Alabama Recruit At Cornerback — Has Also Become A Game-Breaking Running Back • Story... Jesuit’s Rutherford is all Family Business

Like His Dad Before Him, Jesuit’s Isaiah Rutherford — An Alabama Recruit At Cornerback — Has Also Become A Game-Breaking Running Back •


Like father, like son.

Former Cal running back Reynard Rutherford, who racked up over 2,200 yards in college and played for a number of teams in the pros before retiring, is now roaming the sidelines at Jesuit watching his son dominate defenses.

Reynard is close with a number of players on the varsity squad, having coached a few in other sports, but he keeps a keen eye on his son, Isaiah Rutherford — a two-way talent at defensive back and his dad’s position, running back.

Much like his dad —who spent time on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad and played a season for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe — Isaiah has the speed and vision to turn what appears to be a short gain into an 80-yard scamper. His long stride and quick burst make him faster than anybody else on the field, and he’s used that speed to rack up 700 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns through his first seven games of 2017.

“My vision has always been one of my best attributes, but I really tried to get bigger in the weight room this year,” said Isaiah Rutherford, who’s just a junior. “I’ve had good hands and good speed, but really my focus has been on pass protection and helping our linemen out.”

Rutherford has surpassed the century mark five times this year, and a big reason for his success starts with those big boys up front.

With three returners on the offensive line, the Marauders have dominated the trenches during a five-game winning streak following an 0-2 start to the season.

Jesuit’s linemen are getting 10 to 15 yards downfield to seal truck-sized holes for Rutherford and his running mates, Jackson Canaan (342 yards), Lorenzo Burkes (314 yards) and quarterback Josh Farr (120 yards). And despite injuries to key players, Jesuit is pushing for a Delta League title with three games to go.

“Those guys just need to get one or two blocks to create one little seam, and I’ll do the rest,” Rutherford explained. “They’ve been doing a great job with that, and it’s showing in our record.”

Jesuit is 5-2 and on a roll after two tough losses to open the season against Granite Bay and Folsom.

“Those are stout opponents, but when you play teams like Folsom and Granite Bay, they prepare you for what’s coming at you,” said Jesuit coach Marlon Blanton, who was a standout running back at De La Salle-Concord around the same time Reynard Rutherford starred for Benicia. “And I think we figured out that hey, maybe we weren’t as good as we thought we were coming into the season and that we needed to get back to the drawing board. And we have done that, and we’ve gotten better.”

Thanks to big-time performances from Rutherford and Co., Jesuit sat at 4-0 in league play heading into an Oct. 20 showdown with Franklin-Elk Grove (6-1, 3-1 Delta League) at home.

Jackson Canaan works for extra yards against Elk Grove on Oct. 6.

In front of 12,000 fans at Sac City College in early September, the speedy tailback registered an 85-yard scamper against Christian Brothers to propel his team to its first victory of the season, 43-14. On that run, he reached the secondary before anyone laid a finger on him thanks to a gigantic hole created by senior tackle Cayetano Pestana.

“Coming off those first two losses, I don’t think anyone gave us a chance to bounce back,” Pestana acknowledged. “But we wanted a shot at a section championship and we put our heads down, embraced the grind and now we’ve put ourselves in good position to do that.”

Pestana, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman, has battled a knee injury this year that will keep him sidelined for the next two weeks. But, as one of three returners on the Marauders’ front, his presence has paved the way for a big-play offense.

In the opening game of the year, Pestana grated a lineman to break Rutherford free for an 85-yard touchdown run against Granite Bay – one of two scores for him on the day. Rutherford then tallied an 83-yard run up the gut against Elk Grove, where he broke an arm tackle at his own 25 and avoided another diving attempt at his opponents’ 22 before finding the end zone.

Lorenzo Burkes rushed for over 300 yards and two touchdowns before a knee injury ended his season.

“That right side of the line — Pestana and (Joseph) Marchant — they’ve been kicking butt,” Rutherford pointed out. “They come into the huddle sometimes and tell us, ‘Hey, we got this side. If we run this play, we’re going to score,’ and they’re usually right.”

In a key league showdown against Sheldon-Sacramento on Oct. 13, that right side of the line opened up another hole for their speedy back and he broke another big run, this time a 53-yard touchdown in the Marauders 37-29 win.

In all, Jesuit is averaging 8.4 yards per rush this season, and they’ve scored 25 touchdowns.

“It’s really come down to execution,” Blanton admitted. “The offensive line has been blocking well, the runners have been doing a good job finding holes and finishing runs, and our quarterbacks have done a good job reading defenses and taking what they give us.”

The turnaround effort has been most impressive considering their recent slew of injuries.  Among those sidelined is Burkes, who recently committed to play at San Jose State next fall, and defensive back Joe Hagopian — both done for the season with ACL tears.

“Everyone’s looking (at) what Jesuit is going to do with these injuries,” Rutherford stated. “What are they going to do now? It’s not pressure, but we know everyone is watching.”

Fans aren’t the only ones keeping a close eye on Rutherford.

With pro football in his bloodlines, Rutherford has managed five offers currently: Alabama, Colorado, Notre Dame, Oregon State, and Oregon.

The 2019 prospect’s first offer came at the Crimson Tide’s camp in Tuscaloosa over the summer, where they saw his potential fit as a defensive back.

“I’m an aggressive corner,” Rutherford said. “But I really worked on staying square this offseason and keeping my eyes on my guy. My long stride helps me keep up with some of the faster receivers in the game, but I’ve really tried to perfect my technique.”

Rutherford’s most recent 40-yard dash time rang in at a swift 4.49, and he uses that speed to jump in front of routes and pick off passes. This year, he’s got two interceptions. And once he has the ball in his hands, he turns into a running back, where his dad can coach him up.

“We go over the film a lot and he points out what I’ve done right and what I could have done better,” Isaiah said. “He mostly helps out with my recruiting process, but he’s definitely helped me become a better running back.”

Meanwhile, Isaiah keeps his focus on how he can help Jesuit be a title contender.


Steven Wilson is a freelance writer who covered the Roseville and Granite Bay area as a Sports Editor for nearly three years with Gold Country Media.

Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson is a seasoned writer who covered the Roseville and Granite Bay area as a Sports Editor for nearly three years with Gold Country Media. Wilson now covers NorCal high school sports for SportStars.

  • Liz morris

    October 21, 2017 #1 Author

    I think it’s great keep up the good work thank you


  • Jennifer Tretter

    July 15, 2018 #2 Author

    Keep up the good work and your grandma is your number 1 fan. Stay blessed.


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