Photo by Doug Duran / Bay Area News Group
Cal Football

Bear Insider Video: Monte Vista ATH Nate Rutchena

October 13, 2019

In what was expected to be a tight battle between two of the top programs in the highly-competitive EBAL Mountain division, 6-3/205 Monte Vista and Cal LB/TE recruit Nate Rutchena jumped out to a big lead after trailing 10-0 early, then hung on for a 35-29 win over 5-2 Foothill, who had impressive wins over Granite Bay and San Leandro coming into the game. The 5-2 Mustangs only had losses in a close game with 7-0 Liberty and perennial power De La Salle.

Rutchena played a big role in Monte Vista’s win, contributing four catches for 71 yards, including a 39-yard td and seven tackles, one sack, one tfl and one pass defended in the victory.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Rutchena pointed towards where he and the team could improve rather than basking in success.

“Improvements need to be made,” said Rutchena of his and his team’s play. “As a team, I think we played pretty solid but we can be better, including myself, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

The versatile Rutchena has excelled on both sides of the ball this season, hauling in 33 passes for 414 yards and 10 td’s so far through seven games on offense and 61 tackles, six tfl’s, two sacks and two passes defended this season on D.

Photo by Lindsay Broughton

“I just love the opportunity to play,” said Rutchena. “God comes first and he blessed me with the ability to play both ways, so coach gives me the opportunity to play and I give it my all every time out there.”

Does the talented athlete have a preference for one side of the ball?

“Not really a preference, but defense seems to be more fun,” said Rutchena, with a smile. “More impacting than the offensive side.”

Former Cal linebacker and Cal staffer Matt Russi came home to his alma mater to coach the Mustangs and he speaks glowingly of his star two-way player.

“He’s the definition of an all-around football player,” said Russi. “He’s as good on offense as he is on defense.

“He’s leading us in touchdowns, yards, probably tackles for loss, interceptions. He fills the stat sheet.

“He’s awesome to coach because he does stuff we don’t even teach him. He just gets it. You hear coaches say often that this kid just gets it. He gets it.

”(He’s a) great, awesome kid. His work ethic is phenomenal. He really tries to improve and works on his weaknesses. He’s gotten a lot better. He’s not one of those kids who might plateau his junior year. He’s still getting better.”

Though Russi may not lace them up for the Bears anymore, he’s still a Bear at heart, to say the least.

“I watch all their games,” said Russi. “I really love Coach Wilcox. I played for him my freshman year. I know Burl (Toler) really well. So I keep in contact with them all the time. I wear my Cal hat every day.”

Rutchena hasn’t taken any official visits yet but look for him to make a trip back to Berkeley sometime later this season or soon after.

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