Bobcat Gridiron Standout Colton Rapp To Continue Athletic and Academic Career At Storied Mount Union (05/12/18)

Clarion Area Football standout, Colton Rapp has signed to continue his athletic and academic career at one of the most famous football schools in the country, the University of Mount Union, in Alliance Ohio, near Canton and Akron.

Colton Rapp with Mount Union Head Coach Vince Kehres and Offensive Coordinator Chris Kappas

The famed Purple Raiders, members of the Ohio Athletic Conference, have won an astonishing thirteen (13) NCAA Division III National Championships: 1993, 96-98, 2000 – 02, 05, 06, 08, 12, 15 and this past season, 2017.

Mount Union won the first eleven titles under legendary coach Larry Kehres. The winning tradition continues under coach Vince Kehres, who took over the reigns from his father, in 2013 after having played for and been an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the school.

The younger Kehres has won more games (70) than any other college coach, in any division, in the last five seasons. During that time, the Purple Raiders have a 70-4 record, four OAC titles, four national title game appearances and two national titles (2015, 17).

Colton comes from a pretty successful program also. During his four seasons under Coach Larry Wiser, the Bobcats were 35-10. They won the Keystone Shortway Athletic Conference Small School Crown in 2014 finishing 10-2; they were 6-5 in 2015; 2016 KSAC and District Nine Class AA runners-up in 2016, finishing 9-2 and KSAC Large School and District Nine Champions and PIAA State Quarterfinalist in 2017, finishing 12-1.

Colton was a Co-Captain during his junior and senior seasons. His career rushing total of 3942 yards, ranks second all-time for the Bobcats, a program that dates back to 1927. He had 50 career touchdowns.

He had 277 career tackles from his linebacker position, despite not playing on defense during his senior campaign.

Among his many honors  Colton received the following accolades: 2017 First Team running back KSAC Large School; 2016 PA Football News All-State running back; 2016 All-Western PA Team; 2016 KSAC Large School Offensive MVP and First Team All-KSAC at running back and linebacker; 2016 Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express  First Team linebacker; 2015 PA Football News All-State Honorable Mention at linebacker; 2015 First Team All-KSAC Small School at running back and linebacker; 2015 Tri-County Sunday/Courier Express Second Team at linebacker.

About his choosing Mount Union, Colton said, “I made the decision to commit to the University of Mount Union to continue my academics and football career. Mount Union was one of the first teams to actively recruit me my junior year and continued through my senior year. I was fortunate enough to have a good number of schools reach out to me my junior and senior year and had to decide what the best fit was.”

Colton Rapp receiving a congratulatory handshake on his decision to play at Mount Union, from Bobcat mentor Larry Wiser

Colton feels very fortunate for the opportunity to play for the Purple Raiders. He said, “the Coaches from Mount Union stated that they have one goal every year and that is winning a National Championship and they felt I was a player that could play at their level. They were undefeated this past year and won their thirteenth National Championship. It was an honor to have a team of their level say: We are actively recruiting you.”

He likes the fit with the Purple Raiders. “Being on campus and talking with the coaches and football players I feel that Mount Union is the best place for me to find that next level player in me. They have built a legacy championship program and I’m excited to be a part of that and do my best to help. I will be on the offensive side of the ball playing running back and in the slot in their highly explosive offense.”

Colton likes other amenities the school offers. He stated, “I have toured the school several times while meeting with the Coaches. The buildings and classrooms are great compared to the other schools I visited. Everything is updated and looks new. They have state-of-the-art facilities for Exercise Science which is my intended major. That was the deciding factor and it doesn’t hurt that the Football program has a long standing winning tradition with 13 National Championships! The Campus layout is great and they have a ninety-four percent job placement which also helped in deciding.”

Colton mentioned the early roots of his football career, “playing college in football has been a dream of mine since playing youth football at Union. I have to thank Coach Gallagher and the rest of my coaches in youth for helping me develop my love for the game at a young age.”

Reflecting on his varsity career, Colton shared some of his top memories. “I remember my freshman year of varsity. I was fortunate enough to work under some great athletes and coaches. One of the most memorable games that year was playing Redbank Valley, where we broke the state passing and rushing record in one of the craziest four quarters I’ve experienced. I was playing linebacker and our defense had our hands full the whole game but we managed to come out on top.”

“The Chestnut Ridge game (2018 PIAA state opening round) was also one of my favorites. We honestly didn’t have any business being in that game, the only people that thought we had a chance were the coaches and parents. We got beat up, stuffed and shut down the first half.

“I pulled the guys together in the locker room and got everyone’s head in it. Second half we came out a new team and a new purpose with our die-hard fans right behind our sidelines going wild. I’m not sure if it was heart or just us being too dumb to quit, but we pulled it out and won the game. I had a lot of great memories but these are some games that I will never forget.

(Photo submitted) Colton in his number 40, Mount Union Purple Raiders jersey

Colton  shared his thanks for a number of others who have helped him along the way. “I’m very glad I was put in the position to play on this team and have success; I was able to achieve some of my goals thanks to my teammates. Still kind of crazy to me, that I’m up there in the record books with some of Clarion’s greatest. I grew up looking up to all those guys and I’m thankful my teammates helped me get there.

“Nothing great ever happens without the help of others, I would like to thank my parents for always putting me in the best possible position to succeed. They’ve done more than I can thank them for and are the reason I’m where I’m at today. I also have to thank my varsity coaches in football and wrestling, coach Wiser, Coach Weber, Coach Luton, and Coach Watterson. I had a lot of ups and downs the past two years with injuries but they all did a good job of keeping me focused and helping me to perform.”

Colton’s parents Ron and Tracy shared, “Colton has a great work ethic and determination. It has been fun watching him over the years in all his sports. We are looking forward to see what kind of player he becomes at Mount Union.

Clarion assistant coach Lee Weber, who also coached him in wrestling, said, “Colton is a football player!  He may not be our biggest back, but he is the toughest pound for pound! Though he is an average size running back, you can’t arm tackle him. He would accelerate right through it. What makes him special is that he can run around you as well as he can run over you! He has that rare combination of speed and power you would want in any running back, but his vision and anticipation is second to none. Running with your eyes and seeing the whole defense is hard to learn for most backs but Colton can do these things very well. Being able to do all these things is awesome but in his senior year, he did all this fighting through two pretty serious injuries in his shoulder and legs.  Most running backs would not be able to withstand the pain, but Colton’s desire to play and help the team win overrode any pain he had.

(Photo by Bri Nellis-Bri Nellis Photography) Colton Rapp running the ball against Chestnut Ridge

“Again, Colton was not your typical big middle linebacker. He was just tough as nails and can sniff out the ball better than most. Due to injuries in his senior year, he did not play as much defensively but still made it tough for the offense when he was in there. The previous two years, as our starting middle linbacker, he was one of the best defensive players in the area!”

Coach Larry Wiser, Colton’s mentor for the last four years, said, “Mount Union is getting a gifted athlete in Colton Rapp. His statistics on both on offense and defense speak for themselves. What does not show in the stat chart is Colton’s work ethic, enthusiasm for the game, and most important his leadership. I have been very fortunate to Coach this young man.”