Rudolph Is Back In State Title Game

Back in the spring and in the summer when many top quarterback prospects were making the rounds at Nike and Elite 11 camps and other combines and seven-on-seven competitions, Oklahoma State recruiting pledge Mason Rudolph of Rock Hill (Northwestern), S.C., was in his backyard, figuratively speaking, throwing to his receivers at Northwestern High School.

The talented quarterback's thought process was that instead of throwing to others receivers he wanted to throw to his own and do everything he could to help the Trojans get back to the state championship game after losing in overtime a year ago.

Now after a huge semifinal win last weekend over North Augusta, Rudolph, his receivers and the Trojans are back in the South Carolina AAAA Division II State Championship against Stratford at South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia at noon (ET) on Saturday.

"Yeah, it's been a great season and I'm glad we're to this point," Rudolph said Monday night. "This week our coaching staff has said we are going to treat this like it's any other game. We're not going to build it up into some kind of Super Bowl. We're going to relax and go play."

Rudolph had a really outstanding semifinal game as he was 28-of-39 passing for 319 yards and six touchdown tosses. As usual, Rudolph deflects the credit and he was reminded of his extra throwing over the summer to his receivers. It has benefitted the entire team. "Did you see the record Dupree (Hart) got in the game last week? That was really special," Rudolph said of teammate Dupree Hart breaking the South Carolina state high school record for receptions in a career with 279, breaking the old mark set by current Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green.

"Dupree has been awesome and Quadarius (Fair), our smaller receiver, he moved in two weeks before school started and he was a great addition. My brother (Logan) has started playing more and catching passes and the offensive line has been great. I've had a lot to be thankful for."

In that semifinal win, Hart caught three touchdown passes, one for 25 yards, 2 yards, and 21 yards. He also had a 97-yard return for a touchdown and 251 total yards. Fair caught a 53-yard touchdown pass and Julian Shockley had touchdown catches of 2 yards and 9 yards. Logan Rudolph caught four passes for 23 yards.

The state championship game Saturday is a showdown of future college quarterbacks with Mason committed to Oklahoma State and set to enroll in January, while Stratford quarterback Jacob Park (6-3, 200) is committed to Georgia.

Oddly enough, Rudolph's game will begin at the same time Bedlam kicks off in Stillwater with OSU playing to clinch the Big 12 Championship.

"I will have to DVR the game because I want to see it," Rudolph said. "I've been able to see most of the games on Fox Sports and I watched the Baylor game with a bunch of my friends."

OSU fans will have to excuse Rudolph as Bedlam and Oklahoma State will not even be on his mind Saturday. This game and a chance to win a state championship after falling just short last season has been a long time coming.

"I'm really excited for this and I know we'll be ready when Saturday gets here," Rudolph concluded.

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