After missing last year with a back injury, Stone Ridge Christian’s Bryce Louters is making up for lost time.
The Knights senior has rarely come off the field this season.
Louters starts at quarterback and safety. He’s also the punter and kicker. His 12 field goals are the most by any kicker in the state according to MaxPreps.
“He only comes off the field during kickoff returns,” said Stone Ridge Christian coach Mark Gutierrez. “He does everything. I’ve only seen Bryce tired once this season. That was our game at Golden Sierra which was played at about 2,000 feet elevation.”
Louters and the Knights (8-1 overall, 4-0 Central California Athletic Alliance) host undefeated Big Valley Christian (9-0, 4-0) on Friday night in a clash for the league championship.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Castle Field.
“It’s exciting,” Louters said. “We’re all trying to stay hyped and keep our spirits up this week in practice. This is a big game for league. They beat us last year. It should be a good game between the top two teams in our league. The number two spot in the playoffs and a first-round bye is on the line.”
Last year at this time Louters could only watch from the sideline.
During his sophomore year he suffered a back injury toward the end of the season. He played through the injury the rest of the season but during basketball in the winter the injury became too painful.
Louters had suffered a stress fracture in his lower back, which kept him sidelined from athletics for the next eight months. The injury forced him to miss all of last season.
“It was hard watching all those games,” Louters said. “Watching the wins and all the losses. I wanted to be out there and change that.”
Louters has become a difference maker this season.
After former Stone Ridge Christian quarterback Jacob Tanori transferred to El Capitan this season, Louters converted from wingback to quarterback.
Louters has completed 37 of 66 passes for 688 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 457 yards and five more scores.
“For a kid who doesn’t have a lot of experience at quarterback, he does all the little things we ask,” Gutierrez said. “He commands the huddle. We do a lot of shifting and sometimes our plays can get a little wordy. He can remember all that stuff.”
Louters favorite position is safety where he has recorded 53 tackles and leads the team with four interceptions. Despite the back injury, Louters says he loves the contact aspect of football. That’s why he enjoys played defense the most.
“The back hurts every now and then,” Louters said. “It’s nothing major. If it hurts I just ice it.”
Louters has also become a reliable punter and kicker. He averages 35 yards per punt. He’s made 12 of 16 field goal attempts, including one from 47 yards out. He’s also made 23 of 26 extra-point attempts.
“He’s become a weapon,” Gutierrez said. “When our offense has sputtered at certain times of the year, especially when we get in the red zone, I still know when we get inside the 30 we’re in scoring position.”
Louters thanks growing up as a soccer player for his kicking success. He also plays soccer at SRC.
Transitioning to quarterback has also put Louters into a leadership role. It’s another area where he’s excelled at according to Gutierrez.
“Usually when you see a high school kid who is one of the better athletes on the team, they carry themselves that way,” Guteirrez said. “He doesn’t. When it’s conditioning time he’s one of the guys that is always up front. It’s Bryce and Shane (Casillas). Luke (Jenkins) and Cole (Houweling) aren’t too far back. When you have four guys like that competing during conditioning that trickles down to the rest of the team.”
Jansen Weekly Predictions
Winner in parenthesis
Merced at Golden Valley (Merced)
Buhach Colony at Atwater (Buhach Colony)
Los Banos at Pacheco (Los Banos)
Livingston at Patterson (Patterson)
Ripon at Hilmar (Ripon)
Mariposa at Le Grand (Mariposa)
Orestimba at Gustine (Orestimba)
Ripon Christian at Delhi (Ripon Christian)
Big Valley Christian at Stone Ridge Christian (Stone Ridge Christian)
Dos Palos at Avenal (Dos Palos)
Chowchilla at Liberty (Liberty)
Last Week: 12-0. Season: 90-19 (.825).