COLUMBUS, Wis. (BVM) — There are high school football teams nationwide with plenty of special players on their rosters, including the Columbus Cardinals, who are vying to become back-to-back state champions in Wisconsin. They also have one of the best running backs in the state, Colton Brunell, who became the state’s all-time leading rusher on Oct. 20.
STATE RUSHING RECORD
Columbus’ Colton Brunell set the Wisconsin State rushing record with this run
— Luke Gamble (@LukeGambleTV) October 21, 2023
The previous record was held by Racine Lutheran’s Tyler Tenner who racked up 6,932 rushing yards. Brunell’s been playing at the varsity level since his freshman year and also has the opportunity to become the first high school player in Wisconsin history to rush for over 7,000 yards.
“It’s awesome to be one of the best players in the state. Not a lot of people can say they’ve done that,” Brunell said. “I’m just really thankful for my coaches for putting me in the right position and my teammates are always blocking for me. It means a lot … so I’m very thankful for … everybody.”
Brunell first stepped onto the football field in the third grade thanks to his father, Jason Brunell, who coached high school football for 20 years and is a former head coach at Columbus.
Colton also received plenty of inspiration from his older brother, Caden Brunell. Both played alongside each other from an early age in a football league in Fall River and played together for one season at Columbus when Colton was a freshman and Caden was a senior.
That was really nice because I’ve always kind of looked at my brother as a role model,” Colton said, “especially for football because he was always my mentor and he’s pretty good, so I just wanted to be like him when I was younger.”
Colton began to shine when Caden graduated and he exploded onto the scene, rushing for 2,221 yards as a sophomore. He followed that season up by accumulating 2,897 yards and 43 TDs, as a junior, according to wissports.net.
His standout performance led to conversations with prestigious D-I football programs, starting with his home-state Wisconsin Badgers.
“I started talking to Wisconsin my sophomore year, and they were recruiting me pretty hard,” Colton said. “Then my junior year, they were recruiting pretty hard, and I was talking to some other bigger schools too, but then it really didn’t pick up too much until last year after football. So it was really weird because I just got a phone call, and I had to step out of classes. It was kind of cool.”
With interest from respected D-I programs, Colton did what was best for him and decided to commit to North Dakota and will continue to help it compete in the FCS.
— Colton Brunell (@ColtonBrunell) July 18, 2023
“I’m really excited about the community there, everybody is so nice and it’s just a good community to be around,” Colton said.
Colton’s athletic journey has been exceptional to this point and now he and the Cardinals are preparing to further their 2023 season in the playoffs. But regardless of how much longer his senior season lasts, Colton is going to remain motivated by the sport that has positively impacted his life.
“Football means a lot to me because it makes me work hard in school,” Colton said. “I’m always going to be driven to be a better player and person too. It’s just something that’s making me be a better person every day.”