There are two things Wynford football fans have been able to count on
in late October in recent years. One is they’ll get an extra hour of
sleep on the weekend. The other is that their football team will be in
the playoffs. But there is one thing the Wynford football team and its fans would
like to change from the previous two seasons. This time they would like
to make it to Week 12.
There are two things Wynford football fans have been able to count on in late October in recent years. One is they’ll get an extra hour of sleep on the weekend. The other is that their football team will be in the playoffs.
The undefeated Royals are in the Division V Region 18 playoffs for the fourth straight season and travel to Sherwood Fairview (9-1) for a first-round game this Saturday.
But there is one thing the Wynford football team and its fans would like to change from the previous two seasons. This time they would like to make it to Week 12.
“It’s a huge motivation,” senior two-way lineman Clint Cooper said of the team’s last two playoff appearances. “Just losing two playoff games as a starter is a terrible feeling. I want a couple of playoff wins and to go to state.”
Wynford already has one 2008 crown under its belt, a fourth consecutive North Central Conference title. The Royals finished the year by running their NCC winning streak to 33 and haven’t lost a league contest since Week 5 of the 2004 season.
As in previous seasons, Wynford dominated games with a rushing attack that overwhelms its opponents. This year the Royals rushed for almost 2,700 yards as a team on just 366 carries for a gaudy 7.3 yards per carry average.
Senior Kyle Rall led the way with 1,072 yards.
“The most impressive thing to me with Kyle is not only did he wait his turn, but he worked extremely hard in the offseason,” Wynford coach Travis Moyer said, noting Rall has been very unselfish as have his offensive teammates. “That work ethic has been paying huge dividends.”
Rall had the highest per carry average by far in the NCC as a junior. But because he had so few carries in a limited backfield role Rall didn’t qualify on the list of top conference rushers.
While Rall’s rushing yardage 1,072 this year might not seem extraordinarily impressive at first, the picture comes into focus when put into the perspective of just 96 rushing attempts and an 11.2 yards per carry average. He also had 13 rushing touchdowns, made three additional trips to the end zone as a pass receiver, another three as a punt returner and once more on defense.
“Seth (Cooper) and Nate (Etler) were definitely great running backs. It was kind of tough,” Rall said about playing a back-up role until his senior season. “But I knew (this year) I would probably be the starter. It’s just great. It’s awesome to be involved in the offense a lot more.
“Coach Moyer likes to get everybody involved. It’s better to have a more balanced offense and not just one type of threat.”
Rall has obviously had a front-row seat in the choir paying attention when Moyer has been in the pulpit.
“The more balanced we are, the tougher we are to defend,” Moyer said. “What makes our running game go is we have guys up front that are very good at what they do. We have a saying around here that the harder you run, the harder the linemen in front of you block.”
Few people have been able to successfully defend Wynford. The Royals averaged more than 41 points per game and never scored less than 21. Only twice were they limited to less than 30 points and have hit 40 or more for the last six weeks.
Wynford racked up almost 4,200 yards of offense for the season. Junior quarterback Tyler Brause has been a terrific three-way threat. Brause is the second-leading rusher for Wynford with 541 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.
The 6-foot-4 passer has connected on almost 61-percent of his passes for 1,429 yards with an impressive 17-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Brause is also the Wynford place kicker with 47 converted extra points.
What makes those numbers even more incredible is that Brause was the only returning player in an offensive skill position this year.
“We lost a great group from last year. But we didn’t really replace them with young kids. We just replaced them with less experienced kids,” Moyer said. “They’ve done a great job stepping in. It’s a great testament to those players.”
“What’s neat about it is they’ve waited their turn and proved they’re very good players also.”
Chris Brown, 30 catches for 502 yards, and Josh Reiss, 25 receptions for 380 stripes, are the Royals top two receivers. While they’ve caught eight touchdowns between them, tight end Teven Eatmon at 6-foot-7 and 260 has grabbed four more.
Rall and Moyer are both quick to point out the offensive line is the cornerstone of the Wynford offense.
“The line has really done well this year,” Rall said. “I always have holes to run through.”
The anchor there is 6-foot-2 guard Clint Cooper, a 245-pounder and Special Mention All-Ohioan a year ago.
“Kyle (Rall) has the speed to get outside. When you get outside on those sweeps, that’s a huge advantage,” Cooper said. “And Tyler (Brause) really has been throwing the ball well. That’s an advantage too.”
Moyer notes Cooper is an advantage all by himself.
“Clint is another senior that has really stepped up, He wants to play the game and he loves to play the game of football,” Moyer said. “He does a good job at it. He’s been one of the reasons Kyle has had room to run and kept Tyler clean.”
Brause’s jersey is usually as clean as the Royals’ record – spotless.