By ERIC FORTUNE
Heading into a Week 11 matchup with the Mapleton Mounties, the key to Wellsville’s success all seson has been a running back-by-committee attack.
The Tigers (8-2) have had four different rushers carry the load when called upon and it’s earned them a home playoff game at Nicholson Field on Saturday night, where they went undefeated this season.
At the start of the year, there wasn’t much in the way of surprises as far as who would carry the ball when needed. Marcus Moxley came in as the Tigers’ home run hitter with 2,193 yards and 17 touchdowns. Complementing him were Brendon Carr (1,039 yards, 13 touchdowns), and Zack Mellot (599 yards, three touchdowns).
After all was said and done in the regular season, it was a bit of a switch — at least in the statistical department — with Mellot (850) leading the pack ahead of quarterback Jordan Sloan (606), Carr (469) and Moxley (376).
The trio ranked first in rushing yards in the Inter-Tri County League Tier II.
“I think we got tested really well,” Wellsville coach Rich Wright said. “Obviously my background was running the ball. Having multiple guys that can run was quite beneficial for us. Whatever was taken away, we’d get another guy involved. It was a good run-by-committee group that we had.”
The rushing attack presented issues for most teams the Tigers faced this year, as they consumed the clock and complimented it with the number two scoring defense in the league (14.9 points per game).
Wright, in his first year with the Tigers, saw this strategy as a strength this season. He felt it allowed him to have fresh players since Moxley, Carr, and Mellot are all two way starters.
Still, in the big game atmosphere of Saturday night, it might come down to someone taking the load and leading the way for the Tigers.
“A lot of people probably know Moxley and Carr,” Wright said. “It might be a little in the way of play calling, but we still rely on all of them.”
Come Saturday, the Tigers will dance with the gal that brought them there.
“We’ve been battle tested,” Wright said. “We’re going to try and run the ball. I feel comfortable with any of those guys handling the ball.
“We haven’t had too many times where these guys have had double digit carries in a game, though probably now in crunch time, somebody will probably have to carry the ball a little more. We’ll just have to see who gets the hot hand.”