Senior wide receiver Tyler Torgerson has had a rocky career playing football for Puyallup High. Injuries have plagued him during his time with the Vikings.
But after an incredible senior season where Torgerson broke the single-season reception record set by Puyallup graduate and former NFL wide receiver Dane Looker, all those hardships have been worth it.
“It feels very good to (break a record set by) a former NFL player and a very good receiver as well as a good friend of coach (Gary) Jeffers,” Torgerson said.
On the season, Torgerson has hauled in 60 receptions for 912 yards and nine touchdowns. He broke Looker’s previous record of 50 receptions during Puyallup’s 24-21 win Oct. 23 over Narrow’s League foe Timberline.
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The senior receiver finished with 210 yards on 10 receptions and two touchdowns against the Blazers on his way to being named one of 12 WIAA athletes of the week.
“I found out during sixth period when the athletic director (Jim Meyerhoff) came to let me know,” Torgerson said. “I’m incredibly humbled by the honor.”
To reach this milestone, Torgerson had to overcome many obstacles. When he entered the season, there was an intense competition at wide receiver for the Vikings.
At the time, Jeffers said it was one of the team’s strongest groups, but in the end, it was a historical one.
“We had a very good group coming in,” Torgerson admitted. “There are a lot of strong receivers on our team, and to do what I did, it’s amazing to think about.”
As he battled his teammates for chances, Puyallup again went through an influx at quarterback. But unlike last year, the depth at the position kept the ball flying Torgerson’s way.
“I trust that I can throw him the ball and he’ll go up and fight for it,” Nathaniel Holcomb said after Puyallup’s 35-25 win over Emerald Ridge on Sept. 25.
First it was his close friend, Holcomb, looking for No. 21 on key downs, but after he went down with an injury, in stepped sophomore Colby Burton.
“Colby’s done a nice job these last few weeks, especially after his first start was against the No. 4 team (Graham-Kapowsin) in the state,” Torgerson said.
As Puyallup entered its annual meeting with rival Rogers, a familiar face was on the Rams’ sideline. Last spring, Looker took over the offensive coordinator duties for Rogers, marking his return to the 4A SPSL.
Before the Vikings-Rams game, both Torgerson and Looker met on the field and had a brief conversation, as Looker congratulated the player who broke his record.
“I talked to him before the game, and he congratulated me. It was nice talking to him,” Torgerson said. “He’s a good coach and a good person. It’s big honor to get that from him.”
As Puyallup’s playoff hopes dried up when Bethel lost to G-K, 27-6, effectively eliminating the Vikings from the playoffs and slotting Curtis as the South’s No. 2 seed, Torgerson is looking at his team’s future.
“(Tyler) puts himself in good spots for me to throw him the ball,” Burton said after the loss to G-K.
Even though his final season was historical, this Vikings senior believes Puyallup football has a bright one, and the playoffs are only a year away.
“We have a very good young core group of guys … with Nathan coming back and with the rest of the guys we have coming up, this team will be back in the playoffs,” Torgerson said. “I believe this team is almost there to really compete in this league.”
Puyallup will play a week 10 consolation game against former South counterpart Federal Way (2-7) on Thursday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
“I just want to go out and help this team get to 6-4 and prove we belonged in the playoffs,” Torgerson said.