In an indoor football league best known for passing and scoring, ULM product Jason Schule has become an offensive star of a different sort. The bruising fullback for the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings has carved his niche as the top running threat in the af2. "He is a unique weapon," Wings coach Jon Norris said. "He's probably the best running back with the ball in his hands in our entire league."
Schule enters this weekend's home game against the Arkansas Twisters just 37 yards shy of tying the all-time af2 rushing record (1,346 yards) set by former BattleWing QB Sherard Poteete. Schule is also closing in on the single-season rushing touchdown record (28). He leads the league with 25 rushing scores.
"There are parts of our football game where we have to be able run the ball where everybody in our building knows we have to run the ball," Norris said. "It's just a part of our game. Jason does a great job for us in getting that tough yardage.
The New Orleans native was a top-flight runner coming out of Archbiship Hannan High School in 2001, but eventually moved to linebacker at ULM. He was a second-team All-Sun Belt pick on the defensive side in 2005.
Unwilling to set aside his football dreams, Schule continued to play for pay when his college career ended. Back as an offensive threat, he's become a cult hero for fans of the af2 franchise. "He' a quiet assassin," said Wings quarterback Andrico Hines, another Sun Belt Conference product from Middle Tennessee. "You see him walking around and he's quiet. But when he hits the field, he wants to kill somebody. I love playing with Schule. He plays hard all the time." With one game remaining in the regular season, Schule leads the league with 577 rushing yards on 99 attempts. He also holds the af2 record for rushing yards in a game with 112.
"That's the beautiful part of our offense," Hines said. "In a 95-percent pass dominated game, you've got to focus on the run. He makes my job so much easier. I don't think people understand when I say that. This is a pass dominant game. But when you can run the ball effectively for 70 or 80 yards a game, you have to take the time out in practice to focus on that."
Norris loves Schule's durability, noting that he's played in more than 50 consecutive games for the Wings. "He's a throwback in nature," Norris said. "He holds up well in pass protection. He's just been a phenomenal asset and a phenomenal dimension for our football team." Norris said that Schule plays at 245 pounds or less, which is considered undersized for an af2 fullback. "I don't know a person at that position in our game who has played in 50 consecutive games like Jason has – without ever missing a practice," Norris said.
Schule, who is married with three children, works as a personal trainer when he isn't playing football. "I'm hoping he can set himself up well here in Bossier-Shreveport," Norris said. "He's become a great celebrity around here. It would be great to keep him and Mindy and the kids here. Their commitment to BattleWings football has been second to none. He's got to provide for his family, along with playing for the BattleWings. I'm so excited. Those people are family to me."With Schule as a primary weapon, the BattleWings remain a game behind the Arkansas Twisters in the Southwest Division. The BattleWings take on the Twisters on Saturday at the CenturyTel Center in a rubber match to determine the Southwest Division championship. Both teams have already qualified for the 2009 af2 postseason and the BattleWings are currently the fifth seed in the National Conference. . TO GO The Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings play host to the Arkansas Twisters on July 25 at 7 p.m. in the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City. As an added bonus, A&E Network's number one show, The Exterminators, will be filming part of an episode for their second season at game. The entire cast and crew will be on hand to sign autographs for fans including Billy Bretherton who runs the Bossier-based company Vexcon with his brother Rick and the rest of his family.
"I've seen that show and stopped a couple of times," Norris said. "They were doing some nasty stuff on there. I enjoyed the show."