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Originally published November 27, 2013 at 5:28 PM | Page modified November 28, 2013 at 11:32 PM

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Shadle Park’s Brett Rypien living up to uncle Mark’s legacy — and then some

Brett Rypien, the nephew of former NFL star and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, is breaking his uncle’s records at Shadle Park High School, where Brett is a junior. He leads the Highlanders against Bellevue this weekend in the 3A state semifinals.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Sometime this Thanksgiving Day, after the turkey is carved and consumed, the real roasting will begin.

Mark Rypien will hear how his nephew, Brett, continues to carve up his records at Shadle Park High School in Spokane as just a junior.

“Mark is really in the rearview mirror now,” said Tim Rypien, Mark’s brother and Brett’s father. “They always give each other some ribbing.”

Sure, Mark still has some bragging rights — he was, after all, MVP of Super Bowl XXVI in 1992 after quarterbacking the Washington Redskins to victory over the Buffalo Bills.

But Brett is the talk of the town — and state — these days as he continues to rewrite the Greater Spokane League record book while leading the Highlanders (11-1) to the Class 3A state semifinals, where they play nationally ranked Bellevue at 1 p.m. Saturday at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane.

And, truth be known, Mark Rypien wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I’m extremely proud of him, he’s a wonderful kid,” he said. “And why not keep it (records) in the family?”

It is quite an accomplished family — brothers Mark, Tim and Dave all excelled in multiple sports at Shadle Park. While football was Mark’s forte, Tim and Dave pursued baseball careers. Dave went on to play for the Canadian national team and Tim reached the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class AAA team.

And Brett — who broke his state record of 577 passing yards in a game with 613 earlier this season — is the first to credit uncle Mark with helping his development, especially in reading defenses and breaking down film. The pair analyze game film together two or three times a week.

“He’s just a huge X’s and O’s guy and he’s really helped me from the mental aspect of the game, which I think is the most important,” Brett said.

Tim has been instrumental, too, along with fourth-year Shadle Park coach Alan Stanfield, who brought the spread offense to the Highlanders and put Brett in at quarterback as a freshman, midway through the 2011 season. The Highlanders finished 0-9 that season and Brett’s numbers were modest: 690 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions in four games.

Then came the breakout sophomore season, when he passed for 3,589 yards, 25 TDs and 11 interceptions. And this year’s totals are off the charts: 4,086 yards and 57 TDs with just eight picks, completing more than 60 percent of his passes.

That’s 90 career passing touchdowns and more than 8,300 yards — with another game or two to go this year.

“He’s put up some ungodly numbers,” Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff said. “He looks like one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen. They’re in the semifinals for a reason. Numbers don’t lie.”

Brett says there has been a little pressure in carrying the Rypien name.

“No matter how good you’re doing,” he said, “there are always going to be people that are going to say, ‘He’s only getting this much publicity because of his last name,’ or ‘He’s only playing because of his last name.’ But I don’t pay too much attention to that. I just try to go out and prove them wrong every single week and continue to work hard. And I feel if I do that, my play will do its talking.”

And while he has a great deal of respect for unbeaten Bellevue and the team’s rich tradition — including a state-record 52 consecutive victories and 10 3A state championships over the past 12 years — Brett Rypien believes the Highlanders can have the last word in this semifinal game.

“Obviously Bellevue has been a dynasty over the past decade and we have every ounce of respect for that program and their players in the world,” he said. “We realize we are going to have to play an extremely good game to beat them, but at the same time I also feel like we have the capability of playing a really good game.

“What we’ve been saying all week is it’s a good opportunity for us. We’re going to execute our game plan and see what happens.”

And Shadle Park fans will be eager to see how much further back in the rearview mirror this young Rypien can leave his renowned uncle.

Brett Rypien, by the numbers
Shadle Park junior quarterback Brett Rypien already holds most of the Greater Spokane League passing records, including career passing yardage, the two best season-yardage totals and the five best game passing yardage totals. A look at his year-by-year totals:
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