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McGrorty chalks one up for the good guys

Commentary

Nothing can bring a smile to your face more than when good things happen to good people.

In keeping with that notion, you'd be hard-pressed to find more smiles than were present Saturday at Raider Stadium as Southern Oregon's Dusty McGrorty placed his name atop the school and Northwest small-college record books for career rushing.

McGrorty amassed a career-high 250 yards to go with four touchdowns in leading the Raiders past Montana State-Northern, 61-0 ' moving him past former teammate Griff Yates into the No. — spot on the all-time charts with 4,560 career yards rushing.

Dusty's earned everything he's gotten and I couldn't be happier for him, said SOU head coach Jeff Olson, seemingly speaking for the thousand on hand who witnessed McGrorty's milestone.

— While the reserved All-American typically took the moment in stride, there was no doubt how important the feat was for those around him. Prideful SOU players, staffers and Raider fans alike lined up to get a photograph with the Warrenton native in the moments after his final carry and well into the post-game celebration.

It's a big accomplishment for me, the offensive line and our whole team, McGrorty said in between photos of him and starting offensive linemen Todd Wesolowski, T.J. Woodley, Jason Woody, Aaron Hayman and Marc Garcia. These guys have been behind me 100 percent all four years here, and I couldn't feel any better right now.

And neither could the throngs surrounding the 6-foot, 225 pounder.

In his career at SOU, McGrorty has shown the type of humble, hard-working nature that has endeared himself to those around him.

He's a horse, said SOU senior receiver Andrae Thurman, who has played the past three years at the University of Arizona. I've never seen a guy take as many shots as Dusty and get up every time. He doesn't practice much because he's recovering from every game, but he comes in game-in and game-out 100 percent every time. He's a true winner.

Making McGrorty's accomplishments that much more special is the fact that his personal numbers mean relatively little to him. Even as Saturday's run to the record books was well under way, you could see him take just as much pride in his blocking than on a long gainer.

My No. — priority for sure was to go win today, said McGrorty. That's the most important thing about today.

But with that outcome all but secure, Olson felt compelled to step out of character to reward one of SOU's finest models for character.

It's not something I like to do, but understanding who he is and what he did, and with only three home games on our schedule, we wanted to do it here today, explained Olson.

We're not about individual things, added the coach, but this is a pretty special record. Five years ago, people were saying 'Who's ever going to come close to Griff Yates?' And here he is getting it done.

Playing a hunch, Yates took off work from his machinery job in Coquille to be on hand to see his record of 4,559 career yards broken Saturday afternoon.

I wanted to be here because we're good friends, Yates said of McGrorty, whom he tries to talk with on a weekly basis. He's such a good guy, real humble. I'm not much for the talkers, never have been. Dusty isn't like that. He's a good ol' country boy.

And just as McGrorty took the lead from Yates early in his collegiate career at SOU, if he's wise, he'll do so again.

While most would have been saddened to see their record fall, regardless of how much you approved of the new leader, Yates was jovial as he walked out of Raider Stadium.

The record doesn't matter that much when you think about it, said Yates, whose time is filled these days with a wife, two kids and about 100 hours per week of hard labor. What I really miss is playing football and being around all the guys.

Because, as McGrorty will learn in his days beyond SOU, it's players, not performances, that become the most cherished memories in the end.

Fortunately, in rare cases like Saturday, the two can become intertwined.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 776-4488, or e-mail