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Saturday, September 25, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
High School Sports
By Sandy Ringer
YELM Jonathan Stewart cradled the ceremonial football and waggled his finger toward the sky.
Yes, Stewart is No. 1. The Timberline senior rushed for 242 yards on just 12 carries last night against Yelm to become the state's all-time career rushing leader with 6,275 yards.
It appeared to be a rare show of emotion from the humble Stewart, who scored two touchdowns as the Blazers, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, rolled to a 54-0 Pacific-9 victory. But, true to form, the gesture meant something different to him.
"That was thanking God for everything he's done for me," Stewart later explained.
A crowd estimated at 5,000 was quick to show appreciation for what Stewart has done over the past four years. Nearly everyone in the stadium knew he needed 96 yards to break the record of 6,128 yards set by Jerod Moore of Wahkiakum of Cathlamet from 1996 to 1999. A 51-yard run on his fifth carry gave him 119 with 4:34 left in the first quarter.
Stewart (5 feet 10, 220 pounds), who was nursing a sore left ankle, seemed stunned by the sudden standing ovation, momentarily unaware of what had just happened.
"The crowd was getting all loud and I was like, 'What?' I didn't even think I broke the record at the moment," he said. "But then I was like, 'Oh, that was it.' It was cool."
Stewart stood near the huddle as teammates offered congratulations, but officials stopped the game. Yelm coach Dale Enders came out to congratulate him and athletic director Ron Barnard presented him with a football he had decorated for the occasion as photographers and news cameras zeroed in.
Later, Stewart reflected on the moment.
"It felt wonderful," he said. "It was an awesome experience. ... It's something people dream about."
Stewart, nicknamed "Snoop" since he was a toddler, reached the record in his 31st game, seven fewer than Moore played. Stewart missed the final three games of his sophomore season with a broken foot. Timberline coach Kevin Young marveled at Stewart's milestone.
"A record like this, I think, is more meaningful than a one-game record or season record," he said. "To put together four great years like that is pretty impressive."
Stewart wasn't finished. He roared 58 yards for his second touchdown the next time he got the ball, giving him 177 yards in the quarter. His final carry was for 35 yards just before halftime, and he sat out the rest of the game.
Stewart was quick to credit his offensive line.
"Those holes were amazingly wide," he said.
Stewart said he was the record watch is over.
"Now we can focus on team goals, not just about me. State championship is our next goal."
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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