outsized by offensive linemen. That’s okay, though. He rarely gets
outmatched. Kunk, who earned Northwest District defensive player of the year honors in
D-IV, headlines a stout defense that also includes standouts Adam Homan, Justin Bruns, Mark Steinbrunner and Cory Klenke among others.
COLDWATER — At 5-foot-10 and 186 pounds, defensive tackle Tyler Kunk often gets outsized by offensive linemen. That’s okay, though. He rarely gets outmatched.
The Coldwater High School senior continues to come up big for the Cavaliers, one of four teams remaining in the Division IV postseason. Coldwater (12-1) plays Williamsport Westfall (13-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Good Samaritan Stadium in the D-IV state semifinals. The winner advances to the state title game 3 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. Westfall has never been. Coldwater hasn’t been since winning it all in 2005.
“It’s hard not to think about (Massillon). But we know we have to get through Westfall first,” Kunk said. “It’s all about this week. Our coaches do a good job keeping our minds on this game.”
For Kunk, that means slowing down a Mustangs’ offense averaging 39.5 points per game. The Cavaliers allow 13.8.
“I try to stay laid back and not concentrate too much on the game,” Kunk said of his pre-game preparations. “I try to keep everyone loose. If you’re uptight it doesn’t help at all.”
Whatever routine Kunk and his Cavaliers follow, it seems to be working. Kunk earned Northwest District defensive player of the year honors in D-IV with 87 tackles (six for loss), 9.5 sacks, 5 recovered fumbles and one forced fumble. Linebacker Adam Homan, brother of Ohio State LB Ross Homan, leads the Cavs with 113 tackles. Justin Bruns and first-year starter Mark Steinbrunner are tied with 108 tackles and 5.5 and 5.0 sacks, respectively. Defensive back Cory Klenke, who also quarterbacks the shot-gun offense averaging 43.7 points, leads the team with eight interceptions.
“It’s never really about me. It’s about the team,” Kunk said of the award. “I couldn’t be doing what I am without them. I consider it a team award because we work together so well.”
The Cavs enter the state semis with an 11-game winning streak. Coldwater’s lone loss came to D-V state semfinalist Marion Local, 35-14 in Week 2.
“We never really dwelled on it too much,” Kunk said of the loss. “We knew if we lost again we would not make the playoffs. They’re a hard-nosed running team. I don’t know if we were prepared for it.”
Coldwater, making its sixth state semifinal appearance, must be ready for Westfall’s rushing attack. Mustangs’ back Seth Hardin ripped off 442 yards in a regional semifinal win. The team finished with 600. Last week’s regional final opponent Waverly called the Mustangs’ offensive line the best they’ve seen this season.
Kunk, a starter on the 2005 title team, hopes to overcome that with big-game experience. In addition to football, he has a pair of state wrestling appearances.
“With wrestling and football, being in the trenches, you have the mentality you are not going to lose,” he said.