Lowell's tradition of having proficient quarterbacks continues with David Kruse
Lowell - David Kruse isn't worried where history will eventually place him among a long line of outstanding Lowell quarterbacks.
The Red Arrow senior is only concerned with putting in the work which will leave him somewhere in the conversation.
Kruse, who passed for over 1,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, is a chip off the old block when it comes to talented Lowell signal callers. The program has produced a long line of athletic, dual-sport, winning quarterbacks who've spearheaded a program which has reached double digits in wins 14 times since 2000. It’s a program that has won three state titles in two divisions and finished runner-up three times since 2002, and has won 22 of its last 23 conference games, including taking a 12-game O-K Conference White Division winning streak into 2017.
While winning is the result of a complete program, Lowell's success historically commences with finding a quarterback who leads by example, is efficient at running and throwing, and is typically proficient at another sport.
The latest example is the 6-1,190-pound Kruse, a three-time state wrestling qualifier and a two-time fourth-place finisher who was a backup on the 2015 Division 2 runner-up football team before leading the Red Arrows to 12 consecutive victories a year ago before a 34-17 loss to Walled Lake Western in a Division 2 semifinal.
Kruse said there's no way he can miss the history of talented quarterbacks at Lowell. All he can do is hope to be mentioned one day in the same breath, but at the same time Kruse is quick to point out no one position can make a program.
"We've had some fantastic quarterbacks here, guys that I looked up to," Kruse said. "But I think those guys would also tell you that linemen do all the work, even if it doesn't show up to people how good they are. They make it look so easy. There's not a lot of pressure when you have people like that backing you up."
Lowell assistant coach Jake Henige said Kruse's ability and multi-sport talent closely mirrors the best of past Red Arrow quarterbacks. For instance, Keith Nichol went on to play receiver at Oklahoma and Michigan State. Gabe Dean became an All-America wrestler at Cornell. Mark Catlin was a receiver at Grand Valley State. Ryan Stevens, also an excellent baseball player at Lowell, is a standout point guard on Alma College's basketball team and Kyler Shurlow plays quarterback at Davenport University.
"David is like them in that he is a multi-sport athlete and leader," Henige said. "David is just an unselfish kid who knows how to run our system. He might not be your prototypical quarterback, but he can run an offense and kids respect him as a leader."
Kruse carries a 3.91 grade point average and is considering engineering or accounting as a career. He has comfortably found room for football and wrestling in his life. His summer will be divided between participation in a half-dozen 7-on-7 football camps, involvement in the Flat River Wrestling Club, lifting and running a few days a week and spending time with friends.
When it comes to his preference between football and wrestling, Kruse is quick to differentiate.
"Football is my favorite. If I get the chance to play that at the next level, that's what I'd like to do," he said. "The summer will go quick and I'll enjoy it, but it's not football all day long. I have things I like to do other than football. I think I have a great balance between football, wrestling and a social life."
Kruse said it's no accident his athletic interests are divided. He said Red Arrow head coach Noel Dean encourages participation in other sports while Kruse's own family background dictates multi-interests.
"Coach preaches more than one sport," Kruse said. "Football and wrestling have been a part of me for so long. I know I'm not going to do both forever, but I like doing both now."
Kruse is actually following in the footsteps of older brothers Connor, a walk-on who eventually started for Michigan State on the offensive line, and Danny, a Spartan wrestler.
"I've always liked sports, but they also taught me that school is important," Kruse said. "School is first for me, it's a huge part of my life. They also taught me to be the best I could be on a field, too. That's pretty much what they always preached to me."
Considering the brothers' interest in all sports, Kruse said one aspect of their relationship is inevitable. There is definitely a rivalry between the three.
"My expectations are higher just because they are so good," he said. "There is a rivalry. We're never going to hear the end of (who is better). They motivate me, but it's in good fun."