Adam Wolf and senior teammate Skylar Dierker received one of the best compliments an athlete can get last month.
Wolf, a senior offensive guard and defensive end at Eastwood, and Dierker, a halfback/safety, were elected team captains – three games into the Eagles’ season. Eastwood, with three returning starters on both offense and defense, started out 0-3 with losses to Patrick Henry, Clyde and Oak Harbor, and coach Jerry Rutherford knew he had to think of something fast.
“A year ago we didn’t elect captains,” Rutherford said. “We elected different captains for each game, and this year we started out doing the same thing. After we went 0-3 we wanted the guys to pick (permanent) captains, and Adam and Skylar were elected. It wasn’t even close. Decisively, it was the two of them. Those are the guys they looked up to, and that told me right there what the other guys thought of them.”
|Eastwood senior Adam Wolf (62) zeroes in on Lake senior
(Press photo by Lee Welch/FamilyPhotoGroup.com)
Wolf (5-11, 193), a second-team All-Northern Buckeye Conference guard last season, said the team took a vote during an after-school meeting.
“We said, ‘we have to find some leadership on the team,’ ” Wolf recalled. “Coach (Rutherford) said it’s up to us. The kids wrote down two guys who would be good captains, and me and Skylar were the ones they picked. It means a lot that my teammates respect me and Skylar.”
The Eagles (4-3, 4-0 NBC) haven’t lost since, although they still face the meat of their conference schedule starting Friday against a senior-dominated Otsego squad. Eastwood then visits Woodmore and the defending NBC champion Eagles will play sixth-ranked Genoa.
Even as they stared at an 0-3 record, Wolf said the Eagles kept the same mindset they had at the beginning of the season.
“We had a lot of new guys,” he said. “Once everything got rolling, it started to pick up. I didn’t know a lot of the guys very well, some of the sophomores. The more I’ve been around them, the more I’ve gotten to like these kids and gotten more comfortable being around them. That’s a big thing, getting comfortable around each other. Everything’s starting to click.”
Rutherford wasn’t surprised that the Eagles elected Wolf a captain. The senior learned the meaning of hard work while helping out on his family’s farm.
“My whole family farms,” said Wolf, who is a member of FFA. “My dad (Jim) and his brother (Tom) and my grandpa (Harold) and my cousins, we all farm together. Corn, beans, wheat, squash, tomatos. It’s all divided up between the family members, from Bowling Green to Perrysburg. I feel like it’s (taught me) dedication and hard work — just work until you get the job done.”
Wolf is third on the team in tackles, with 51 (31 solo) and is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with nine (tying junior linebacker Ryan Mang). He also has one sack. Wolf played defensive tackle a year ago but was moved to end for his senior year.
“We needed an end,” Rutherford said. “It worked for him. He’s one of our leaders on our team. He was all-league a year ago on an offensive line that was all seniors. He had a great year last year as an offensive guard, pulling on the sweep and trapping. As the season went on, he became a starter on the defensive line.
“He’s just a tough kid. He grew up on a farm and he’s a ‘yes, sir, thank you, sir’ kid. He’s been brought up well. He works unbelievably hard in the weight room and he’s also a wrestler. He plays hard every play. Early in the season, on those hot nights, he was one of the guys playing every down and he never came off the field.”
The play of both guards plays a huge role in the success of the Eagles’ wing-T offense, which last year set a school record with an average of 47.5 points and 438 yards of total offense per game. Rutherford said his coaching staff moved Wolf from fullback to guard in the seventh grade.
“You gotta be an athlete,” the coach said, “and when our guards are athletes, that really helps. He’s a pretty good athlete. The guard is the No. 1 position on our O-line. They get to pull and lead on the sweep, which is our best play. Our offensive line is good group of guys and they have come together.”
Wolf said he really doesn’t have much time to think about switching from offense to defense and back again during a game, saying “you just get back at it.”
Defense, however, is where his heart is.
“I like defense, for the contact,” Wolf said. “I like offense, but I always wanted to play defense. I’ve always wanted to get a lot of tackles. I just like tackling.”