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Last of the Reillys ready for grand finale

10/31/2015, 8:00am PDT
By Terry Monahan

Family has supplied Valley Center with a lineup of top players


Valley Center quarterback Rhett Reilly entered Friday’s game with nine TD passes and just two interceptions for the Jaguars this season.

— The Reilly legacy at Valley Center High, which has unfolded for more than a decade, is about to run its course.

Only one more regular-season football game and the playoffs remain, and then it will fade into history.

Rhett Reilly, the starting quarterback, along with twin brother Trent Reilly, a middle linebacker, are the last ones.

It seems as if there have been Reillys at Valley Center forever, and before that Orange Glen when Russ and Keith Reilly played basketball for the Patriots in the 1980s.

Fast-forward to Valley Center and the extended family has had 11 children compete athletically for the Jaguars. Six of them — cousins A.J., Trevor, Drew and Beau before Rhett and Trent — played football.

“It seems weird that my family is done at Valley Center,” said Rhett, who is 15 minutes older than Trent. “Coach keeps asking when are there going to be more Reillys.

“And it won’t come back until A.J.’s son gets to high school in about 12 years or so.”

Rhett is trying to cap off the Reilly dynasty as best he can this season.

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior has completed nearly 54 percent of his passes for more than 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions.

Valley Center is still in contention for the Valley League championship.

That Rhett is even playing is a testament to how quickly he bounced back from a potentially serious hip injury in which the muscle separated from the bone while he was running a leg of a relay race during track season.

That injury cost him 13 weeks with no football.

“It hurt a lot, especially the first two weeks,” Rhett said. “I knew it was bad when it happened. Whenever I moved my leg, it hurt.

“What really hurt was watching my teammates on the field during spring practice.”

Slowly, Rhett came back, though the summer was tough to endure.

He was not going to miss his senior year, so the left-hander kept grinding away.

“I just love knowing the ball is in my hands, that it all starts with me,” Rhett said. “I’m totally fine with that pressure.

“When I throw an interception or lose a fumble, that’s not a good feeling. The quarterback has to have a bad memory and move on to the next play.

“I’ve learned how to handle the stress because when I throw an interception I have to be able to come back the next time and make the same throw without fear.”

Valley Center coach Rob Gilster lauded Rhett on his lack of mistakes.

“He doesn’t turn it over much, but he needs to be a little more aggressive,” Gilster said. “We want him to anticipate when receivers will come open and make the throw before they make their break.

“The way he does it now, he’ll be too late with a pass at the collegiate level.”

But by the time Rhett calls signals at the next level, the Reilly era at Valley Center will be history.

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