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"I've been telling the kids that this is definitely not the same Woodlan. They'll have a lot of quality athletes," stated first-year Bellmont coach Larry Getts on the Friday, season-opening opponent of the Braves.
Woodlan will be coached by veteran Sherwood Haydock, who spent 11 years coaching the Harding Hawks, taking them to a state championship.
With Harding closed, Haydock, and his 233-pound son, Zac Bo, moved down the road to Woodlan as he takes over for Barry Ehle.
What a difference a year makes!
Woodlan, suddenly, has power and speed, a great attitude and high expectations. Even gone are the old white helmets and white pants. Four players off of Haydock's Harding team are starters and four more are back-up. Other players from Harding went to Leo, Heritage and New Haven. "Plus, two went to Luers and one to Snider," chipped in Haydock.
"All the kids from Harding came here because they wanted to, no pressure, and they fit in well. And the Woodlan kids jumped right in. I couldn't be here until 7:30 (this past spring) because of commitments at Harding, and the kids were here lifting weights. It's been a smooth transition," said Haydock.
It likely went smoother because Haydock, on his son's request, moved from quarterback to tailback. He had thrown for 3600 yards and 34 touchdowns at Harding. Brock Hines is the quarterback now for the Warriors.
"I made this decision before I realized how good a QB Brock was going to be. He's great," said Haydock, whose team runs a lot from the Wildcat spread.
And he's even better because he has T.J. Sewell, a 152-pound scatback, to throw two. "I told T.J. last year he could make two moves and then he had to go. Now, I've cut him loose. He put on a show last Friday," said Haydock of his speedy receiver.
Hines also has 6-4, 192-pound Jaylin Bennett, also from Harding, as a tight end. Sophomore DeAndre Woods, a 270-pounder, who would have gone to Harding, will be blocking.
"I'm not facing Bellmont, I'm facing Larry Getts," said Haydock. "He was my assistant last year. When he was at Wayne, we played him six times and he beat us once, but we never really stopped their crazy offense, only outscored him."
Getts, the odd man out in the SAC football coaching shuffle in 2010 ended up helping Haydock.
The Braves made huge changes this year too, including putting two defensive linemen at tight ends with Isaac Birch and Brian Hakes, two of the top athletes on the team. The Braves will run that tight, double-wing.
"It's not that they do so much faking, you just can't see the ball," said Haydock.
"And they send their linemen everywhere. It's hard to stop."
And, with Zac Bo and Sewell running wild, Woodlan will be hard to stop.
It should be a fun opener.
Braves Have Challenge
This is a Woodlan team which is many times better than the 1-9 team of a year ago. They won't be losing any games 52-13, as they did to BHS last year.
The Braves need to keep the ball away from Zac Bo and the boys. This will be a challenge. BRAVES 31, Woodlan 28.
Jets Run Into Pistol
Blackford now runs a pistol/motion offense with second-year coach Steve Rinker, who does not have a lot of experience.
"We must play our game and be disciplined," said AC coach Michael Mosser.
Okay! JETS 34, Blackford 20.
Stars Over Winchester
South Adams got rid of Eastbrook, perennially ranked in 3A, and now faces a decent Winchester team, which likes the run.
Nineteen seniors, including QB Dustin Wanner, will be the key in this one. STARS 27, Winchester 12.
The Rest of the story:
Garrett 28, Eastside 14
Bluffton 41, Northfield 26
Heritage 21, New Haven 20
Leo 34, Norwell 28
B. Dwenger 27, South Side 20
Concordia 14, North Side 13
Snider 28, B. Luers 24
Carroll 17, Goshen 14
Concord 17, East Noble 13
Mishawaka Marian 28, DeKalb 7
Col. City 28, Warsaw 21