After a breakthrough season in 2005 that saw the school’s first
undefeated regular season and first playoff win, the Wynford Royals
have continued their success with 19 regular season wins in the past
two years, including another unblemished mark in 2007.
Can they keep it up?
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Tyler Brause (6-5, 210, jr.), OL Zach Brewington (6-0, 180, jr.), OL Dale Schiefer (5-8, 170, sr.), OL/DT Clint Cooper (6-4, 240, sr.), LB Ty Harrer (6-0, 190, sr.), FS Kyle Rall (5-10, 170, sr.)
2007 Record: 10-1, Regional quarterfinalist
After a breakthrough season in 2005 that saw the school’s first undefeated regular season and first playoff win, the Wynford Royals have continued their success with 19 regular season wins in the past two years, including another unblemished mark in 2007.
“From a regular season standpoint, it’s the second time – two out of the last three years – that we’ve finished undefeated in the regular season,” head coach Travis Moyer said. “I think with the success that we’ve had, we’re ready to build on what we’ve accomplished to this point, especially in terms of postseason. I think everybody from our standpoint was extremely disappointed in the way our season ended last year in terms of getting beat in the first round. These kids going into this year have worked extremely hard to make sure that doesn’t happen, but obviously we’ve got a lot of legwork to do before that point to even have that opportunity.”
What has been the secret to Wynford’s recent success?
“I think it’s a situation where the kids have bought in to what we’re trying to sell in terms of there’s no substitute for hard work,” Moyer said. “It’s not that each and every year we’ve went in with the most talented team. Our kids have worked extremely hard to put themselves in a position to have an opportunity to compete for a league championship and have an opportunity to play in the postseason.”
This year’s team has some holes to fill as just seven total starters return, but having an experienced quarterback in junior Tyler Brause (97-153, 16 TD, 1,615 yards) will give the Royals a boost.
“Last year we were, from an offensive standpoint, going into our season really unsure of our quarterback position,” Moyer said. “We had a sophomore, Tyler Brause, really step up and have a great year for us. Last year, we surrounded him with veteran skill players, and this year we don’t have that. We have our quarterback, but we lost a lot of our skill positions from last year offensively, so we have some question marks there. We return four starters on offense… from an offensive standpoint, we’ve got some major question marks. We’ve got some guys that worked extremely hard this offseason to become the best that they can in terms of athletes, but from that standpoint we’ve got a big challenge there.
“Defensively, we lost a lot of good players also on that side of the ball for us. We’ll have a big challenge there in terms of replacing some of those kids and having that expectation of being a very good defense.”
Brause’s emergence played a big factor in the success of the 2007 squad, and Moyer expects even more from him this season.
“I think each and every week he continued to get better,” Moyer said. “The great thing about Tyler is he’s extremely coachable and wants to get better. He understands that when he got better, we got better as an offense last year. For a sophomore to throw for over 1,600 yards says a lot about his play but also says a lot about the play around him. We were fortunate to have some very good players around him.
“This year, the expectation is for him to do a little bit more, probably with his legs in terms of being able to run the ball and being able to utilize the run game. So we’ve got great expectations with Tyler, and he’s worked extremely hard this year to prepare himself for the upcoming season.”
Overall, Moyer says the team will need to work hard across the board and have a new group of players step up their game and fill the role of being a starter.
“We just have to continue to get better each and every day that we’re out,” Moyer said. “Right now, we’re focused in the offseason in terms of becoming better athletes and getting stronger and getting quicker. Like I said, we have a saying here at Wynford – when you get better, we get better, and that’s our emphasis now. Once we start throwing, obviously from an offensive standpoint, in the summertime once we have our summer practices, we’ll have to work on our timing because we lost a great deal of our skill players from last year. Those relationships that Tyler built last year he’s going to have to build with a new group this year, so that’s going to be a major question mark for us in terms of guys stepping up at those positions. From an offensive standpoint, our offensive line should be a strength of ours. We return three starters up there, and we should have good depth up front.
“From the defensive side, we lost a lot of good players from there, but the thing we’ve been fortunate with on that side of the ball is we’ve got a lot of kids a lot of playing time in terms of we’ve been fortunate to be up and give those kids varsity experience. This year, they’re going to have to step up and get out of being a role player that they might have been the last couple of years and step up and be starters. We have a major question mark at linebacker; we lost some very good linebackers from last year, so we’re going to have to have some guys step up there.”
Even though the team must find several new starters, the success at Wynford has taught the players the lessons needed in order to know how to win in the postseason.
“I think it’s a situation that we understand what it takes to be successful at that level,” Moyer said. “Obviously that’s a step up in terms of competition, and when you talk about Region 18 in Division V, you’re talking about one of the tougher regions in all of the divisions in terms of it’s all relative. We’ve got great respect for the teams that we play, and we know it’s extremely difficult. It’s definitely something earned to make the playoffs in Region 18.”
With a crowded pack of quality teams in Region 18, the Royals will have to continue to rack up the victories in the regular season in order to assure themselves of a spot in this year’s field.
“Obviously it starts with Week 1,” Moyer said. “Football’s so much different than all the other sports in that you have to earn your way, so Week 1’s just as important as any other week. Obviously our non-conference schedule’s extremely difficult with River Valley, Mohawk, and then we play Margaretta this year out of the Sandusky Bay Conference. Once get in the league, our number one goal is to is to win the league championship since we feel as if we do that, then we’ll have an opportunity to reach goal number two, which is to make the playoffs. Our schedule is extremely difficult, and we’re going to have to be ready right from the get-go.”
While the 2008 chapter of the Wynford story is yet to be written, the success has had an impact on a school and community that was not previously known for making an impact on the football field.
“What it’s done is it’s brought some of the best teams in Division V to our field, and we’ve been fortunate not only as a football program but as a community to be exposed to high school football in terms of the playoffs,” Moyer said. “There’s no greater experience than that. We’ve been able to showcase our athletes and our community, and it’s just a great experience for everyone involved.”
8/22 RIVER VALLEY (CALEDONIA)
8/29 @ MOHAWK (SYCAMORE)
9/5 MARGARETTA (CASTALIA)
9/12 @ RIVERDALE (MT. BLANCHARD)
9/19 COLONEL CRAWFORD (NORTH ROBINSON)
9/26 @ BUCKEYE CENTRAL (NEW WASHINGTON)
10/10 @ ONTARIO (MANSFIELD)