|Senior Quarterback, OH Rouse, looks to lead the Crusaders to their first State Championship Title since 2008|
Playing football is something that O.H. Rouse has always loved doing. “I played recreation football at Rose Hill and I had a coach that really got me into it,” the Harrells Christian Academy quarterback explained Monday. “In addition to that, my family has always been huge football fans.”
The 18-year-old HCA senior said that his passion for the game is simple, “I just really love the game.”
That love is on display every Friday night as he leads the Crusaders behind the center and on defense as middle linebacker.
His stats speak volumes.
In his sophomore year as quarterback, Rouse passed for 524 yards and 7 touchdowns; in his junior year he threw for 384 yards and had 7 touchdowns.
On defense, he is just as tough.
In the past three years, he has racked up a total of 193 tackles (110 solo; 83 assists) and has 11 sacks.
So it should come as no surprise that Rouse has been named this week’s Performance Auto/Sampson Weekly Star Athlete of the Week.
However, when told of the honor, Rouse is just that. “I am shocked,” he said upon hearing the news of the honor. “I am really surprised and really glad that someone thought that much of me to even nominate me.”
Although he started as a fullback in his freshman year on the Crusader squad, he quickly fit into the role of quarterback the
“I was really lucky,” Rouse explained. “I followed a really good quarterback in Connor Bullard. I also had a really good offensive coordinator at the time too (Adam Scronce). Those two guys really taught me a lot about being quarterback. To tell you the truth, I really looked up to them and I was lucky to learn so much from both of them.”
The team has been through three different head coaches since Rouse’s freshman year – Jack Holley, Brian Aldridge and the current head coach Winfred Johnson.
“All three coaches had the same philosophy,” Rouse said. “So, there really wasn’t a problem with the transitions. We kind of took a little from each one ... I think all of them taught me something. But Brian Aldridge really had a big impact on me and one of my best
friends, Fredrick Strickland.”
When asked what he likes best about playing quarterback, O.H. says without hesitation, “I like the pressure of the position ... I like having the pressure put on me, I think that is when I play the best.”
However, after talking for a bit, Rouse admits to enjoying playing defense too. “I do enjoy playing defense a little bit better,” he says with a laugh. “I have always loved it. I think it is because I get to hit people.”
Born in Rose Hill to Owen and Panya, Rouse is the youngest child of the family – he has an older sister, Bailey, who is a senior at
He started playing recreation sports at 8-years-old. Rouse, who also plays baseball for the Crusaders, said that loves to play both sports. “Well, I am not so good at baseball (Rouse plays centerfield),” he admits. “But I still like playing and getting out there. I have grown up around a lot of the same guys, so I enjoy getting out there and being part of the team. I also really enjoy the competition.”
Right now, though, Rouse is hyped about the Crusaders’ upcoming football season; his final in a Harrells uniform.
“I think we look pretty good,” he said. “I thought we played well in the Jamboree and did very well in our game against South Lenior ... I feel pretty good about this season. We have a tough season and we always have a rough time playing against Davidson Day Academy.”
A solid student in his own right, Rouse is near a 4.0 GPA, he hopes to follow in his sister’s footsteps and continue his education.
“I really hope to go to a four-year college,” he said. “I would
love to attend N.C. State University and work towards getting my agriculture degree.”
Would he consider playing sports in college? “Oh, I would love to play,” Rouse said. “It is a dream, but, yeah, I think it would be awesome.”
But he said his focus in college will be on his Agriculture career.
“My family has a farm (Rouse Brothers Produce),” O.H. explained. “It is run by my dad and his brother, Vernon. Over the years, I have helped out too. We grow organic produce, corn, beans ... I know that I want to do something with my degree in Agriculture.”
However, Rouse said his focus right now is completing his high school career by making more memories. “I want it to be memorable,” he said. “Because I know 10 years from now I’m going to miss it. I know after I look back on it, I will miss it ... you only get one time in life to go high school and play high school football. So, yes, it is definitely bittersweet for me.”
What makes playing at Harrells Christian Academy so special? “For me, it is my teammates and coaches,” Rouse said. “But it is much more than that. Harrells is special because it is a small school and everyone knows each other so well and everyone is so passionate about football. We have a solid fan base and it is great to hear all the fans cheering in the stands. It makes you feel good.”
Another thing that helps Rouse, he says, is former Harrells football star Will Johnson, who passed away tragically during a game over a decade ago. “We have this saying at our school named for him, called ‘The Will To Win’,” he explained. “To me and to everyone at Harrells, it is a big motivational factor. I was in elementary school when it happened and to be honest, I really didn’t know him that well. But we lived close to his family and they are just awesome people and have always been really supportive. His story always has touched me and he is always there in my mind. That is motivation for me.”
Looking back at his high school career, what would he tell the young O.H. Rouse now that he is on the verge of leaving Harrells? “I would tell him that you only have four years here,” he said quietly. “Don’t ever take anything for granted.”
All Credit for this Article goes to the Sampson Weekly
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