Mitch Lesmeister still is trying to wrap his head around his name being above a player who was a No. 1 NFL draft pick and a Super Bowl champion.
Lesmeister set the Walla Walla High School record for all-time career yardage Friday in a 64-14 loss to Richland, a game in which he ran for 62 yards and threw for 59.
For his career, Lesmeister has 4,141 yards, jumping over former Blue Devils quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who held the school record of 4,060 since 1989.
“He was a great quarterback,” Lesmeister said of Bledsoe. “I feel honored to even be mentioned with him.”
Bledsoe, 44, went on to play at Washington State. He was the first overall pick in the 1993 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, with whom he won a Super Bowl following the 2001 season.
Bledsoe played 14 seasons in the NFL for New England, Buffalo and Dallas. He retired in April 2007.
After hearing Lesmeister broke his record, Bledsoe sent the Walla Walla senior a congratulatory message on Twitter: “Congrats Mitch!! Well done man. I hope the rest of the season goes well. Go Blue Devils!!”
“That was cool for him to do that,” Lesmeister said. “I appreciated it a lot.”
Entering Thursday night’s game against Kamiakin at Lampson Stadium, Lesmeister ranks second in the Mid-Columbia Conference with 1,009 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. He’s fourth in passing, completing 68 of 162 attempts for 935 yards, 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Lesmeister leads the total offense category in the MCC with 1,944 yards.
“Pat Graham is his quarterback coach; all the credit goes to him,” Wa-Hi coach Eric Hisaw said of Lesmeister’s accomplishment. “He is a tremendous coach. He puts the devil in every detail.
“For a quarterback to run for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in one season, that is special,” Hisaw continued. “Mitch is the kind of kid who is humble, has integrity and character. We are lucky to have him in our program.”
Lesmeister, who also is a standout baseball player, said he could not have reached the milestone on his own.
“I am having a pretty good year,” he said. “It has been fun. Credit goes to the offensive linemen and my coaches.”
College is in Lesmeister’s future, but he said he’s still weighing the pros and cons of football versus baseball.
“I’m still a ways away from making that decision,” he said.