It's Been A Great Run For Kase

Johns Hopkins

Low-key Running Back Has Put Up Gaudy Career Stats

November 14, 2009|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

He has rushed for 4,132 yards in college, a distance of more than two miles, much of it with would-be tacklers hanging off his back, grasping at his waist and clinging to his legs.

"I never thought of it like that," said Andrew Kase, Johns Hopkins' all-time ground gainer. "I don't even remember the last time I ran a mile straight. High school gym class, maybe?"

A 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior, Kase plays his last regular-season game today when Hopkins (7-2) plays at McDaniel (5-4) at 1 p.m. At stake for the Blue Jays: the Centennial Conference championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

For Hopkins, the game has greater importance, but with 48 more rushing yards, Kase would become the No. 2 all-time college runner in the state of Maryland.

Imagine that. A lightly recruited kid at a think tank outranking the best that the big schools can muster.

None of this has gone to Kase's head.

"I know I wouldn't have had nearly this career at a Division I school, but ... to each his own," he said. "As I see it, I'm playing at my own talent level, and I'm getting a great education to go with it."

Kase, an economics major from Wyomissing, Pa., has earned his kudos, teammates said.

"He's a bruiser who just pushes through people," guard Tim Miller said. "His thighs are monstrous; one person can't tackle him.

"When [Kase] runs, it makes my job easier, knowing that, instead of holding a block for four seconds, I only need to do it for two for him to break free."

A starter since his freshman year, Kase holds a slew of Hopkins' career records, including touchdowns (46) and points scored (277). Twenty-three times, he has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game.

He is, quite simply, "the best [runner] I've ever had," said Jim Margraff, Hopkins' coach of 20 years. "He has a burning desire to win at everything from football to jumping rope."

This season, Margraff said, Kase iced big victories against Dickinson and Muhlenberg by eating up yards while running out the clock.

"Everyone knew who would get the ball at the end. We didn't try to hide a thing," Margraff said. "But nobody could stop him."

The tailback's work ethic resonates with his peers, the coach said. How often is a 19-year-old junior named team captain, as Kase was last year?

"He's not a vocal leader on the field, more like 'Gimme the ball and let's go,' " nose guard Duane Sizemore said.

That no-nonsense approach has anchored the Blue Jays since the arrival of Kase, an Eagle Scout whose interests seem old-fashioned to some.

"His favorite TV shows are on the 'Home and Garden' and 'Do It Yourself' networks," said Sizemore, his roommate. "Why? What could be the reason? He even records them."

Kase shrugs off the criticism.

"I like all of that construction stuff," he said. "I made my own entertainment center last summer.

"I just like building things."

A legacy at Hopkins, for one.

Career rushing leaders at schools in the state

1. Eric Frees, McDaniel: 5,281 yards (1988-1991)

2. Napoleon McCallum, Navy: 4,179 yards (1981-1985)

3. LaMont Jordan, Maryland: 4,147 yards (1997-2000)

4. Andrew Kase, Johns Hopkins: 4,132 yards (2006-present)

5. Levi Shade, Salisbury State: 3,649 yards (1973-1976)

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