Concrete senior breaks county rushing record

During a Nov. 4 regular-season game against Darrington, Concrete running back Kyler Howell made history. Heading into the game with only 30 yards remaining to break the Skagit County career rushing record, Howell got the nod on the first play and rumbled 53 yards for a score.

“It definitely felt good,” said Howell during a post-season phone interview. “I knew I was getting close to breaking the record, and I wanted to get it over with.”

At the close of the 2010 season, Howell’s career rushing stats stood at 464 carries for 3,622 yards, eclipsing the previous record held by fellow Lion Eli Sanchez, who racked up 3,414 yards from 1990–93. Howell scored 68 touchdowns total, with 42 extra points for 452 points. His 220 points this season made him the first Skagit County player in at least a decade to score more than 200 points. He had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons, even after missing four games last year because of an injury, and missing one forfeited game this season.

Not bad, not bad.

“Deserving” is a word that comes up repeatedly during interviews with those closest to Howell’s achievement.

“He’s a well-deserving kid,” said Head Coach Ron Rood. “He never misses a practice session spring, summer, or fall. He works on weights after practices. He’s pretty driven.”

“He deserves it,” said Sanchez, who also is a friend of the family. “He worked really hard over the summer and he was really focused this year, ready to play.”

Howell tips his helmet to the offensive linemen who opened holes for him: Johnny Corne, Uriah Kast, Zach Omstead, Chris Phillips, Matthew Holman, Jordan Clontz, and D. J. Mitchell. With Kast and Cody Corn the only returning members of the line-up—and Corn injured early in the season—the relatively inexperienced front line delivered on demand, said Howell.

“They really worked hard, got with the program, learned their assignments, really did a solid job,” he said.

Howell’s father, Kelly, is an assistant coach for the squad. He watched Kyler grow up in the shadow of cousins’ records posted on the walls of Concrete High School.

“He wanted to make sure he got his name up on the wall,” said Kelly. “He’s always worked toward that, and I think it’s something to be proud of. He’s a hard worker with natural talent and worked hard to develop those talents,” he said.

©2013. All rights reserved.