WAVERLY (WBNG) — Tioga had to battle in the snow this past Friday night at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, but the Tigers actually thrived in the elements and as they ran through Onondaga and into the state semifinals for the second straight season. Not every team would love playing when it’s cold and wet, but when you have a four-headed rushing attack like the Tigers, it can play in your favor.
“It seems like week in and week out, we can call a different guy’s number and they can answer the call,” said Tioga head coach Nick Aiello.
Tioga’s ground and pound game consists of senior Owen Wanck, the Worthing brothers, John and quarterback Brady, and the freshman phenom Emmett Wood.
“All of our backs have gone over 100 yards at some point in the season,” said Aiello. “Or we’ve had a back that’s had a couple touchdowns in a game.”
Friday night, it was the freight train, Owen Wanck’s, turn to lead the way, plowing his way in for four scores as Tioga blew past Onondaga in regionals.
“I just try to follow my blocks, because I’m not the fastest guy,” said Tioga senior running back Owen Wanck. “But, I’ve got good blockers in front of me.”
All four bring something different to the Tioga rushing attack.
“Wanck’s tough,” said Aiello. “Tough fullback-type and he gets a lot of tough yards for us and when he busts loose, he can do some good things.”
“Emmett can be a bull at times,” said Aiello. “He also has a little bit of speed and he’s been learning as the season has gone on.”
“John’s real shifty, real shifty,” said Aiello. “He’s very good at hitting the hole with speed and getting yards after contact, for a little guy.”
“Brady’s smooth,” said Aiello. “Brady’s a smooth runner and he can really turn it on as well.”
When they’re all clicking, it creates confusion for opposing defenses.
“It allows us to spread out where we are going to run the ball,” said Tioga senior running back John Worthing. “They can’t just decide what hole they are going to stop. It allows us to get rest and get energized to go back in and go as hard as you can.”
Like all backs, these four studs need holes to run through..
“It really starts up front,” said Aiello. “It sounds like a broken record, but that’s where we returned the most experience and I thought that would be our strength as the season started and as it progressed and it definitely has been. So, those guys are doing a really nice job up front for us.”
Tioga takes on No. 1 Clymer Central (11-0) Friday night in the state semifinals. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Ty Cobb Stadium.