WYDA LEADS BERWICK IN SEARCH OF PROGRAM'S 11TH DISTRICT 2 CHAMPIONSHIP.
When it comes to running backs, coaches look for all kinds of fancy terms to describe a running style.
A running back can have good vision, great hips, an excellent first move or runwith a low pad level.
If you combine all of them, the next phrase typically thrown out there is that the particular running back has the “it” factor.
What that specifically means sometimes is unclear. But it’s a perfect way to describe Berwick’s Len Wyda.
Last season, as a junior, Wyda carried the ball 51 times for 244 yards and one touchdown. He split time in a backfield where four other Berwick players had more rushing attempts than he did.
But when Frank Sheptock became the head coach at Berwick, it didn’t take long for him to identify that Wyda has what it takes to be a featured back in an offense.
Sheptock, the former Wilkes University coach, always had a solid running game during his tenure with the Colonels.
“Last year we had a good rotation in the backfield,” Wyda said. “Coach (George Curry) could pick and choose every week so you never really know. When I got in the game I had to make my time worthwhile. Once you did that you got your chance to play.”
While Wyda admits that there were some frustrating times last season, he kept believing he had a role in the Berwick backfield. Sheptock saw Wyda’s work ethic and leadership qualities in the offseason.
It also helped that Wyda has the attributes good running backs possess and all thatmade the decision easy when it came time to settle on the workhorse at tailback.
“We talked a bit and coach said not to worry,” Wyda said. “He told me that he knew I was a good player and that I would get the time I deserve. I didn’t expect this much, but I can’t complain. I love it.” And so does the offense. Heading into tonight’s District 2 Class 4A championship game at North Pocono, Wyda has rushed for 1,461 yards and 25 touchdowns. He averages 5.5 yards per carry.
As the Bulldogs get set to play in their fifth consecutive district final, Wyda is hoping to add a gold medal to the two silver ones he already owns.
“Our ultimate goal is to win the district championship,” Wyda said. “Obviously, we have a lot to live up to, but we are keeping it going. Toward the end of the regular season we started to realize who were were and what we can do.”
Wyda has carried the ball less than 20 times in a game just once this year and that came against Valley West. He had seven carries for 15 yards and was taken out of the game early after playing at well under 100 percent.
It was just one of three games where Wyda did not score a touchdown. The other two times were against Crestwood and Williamsport.
“My ultimate goal when the season started was to be able to rush for 1,000 yards,” Wyda said. “It was about halfway through the season when I looked atmy stats, and I was very surprised where I was sitting. It was something I thought I was capable of, but you never know if injuries are going to come.”
Wyda’s biggest workload came in a game against Coughlin where he had season-highs of 36 carries and 193 rushing yards. He scored five touchdowns in a game against Pittston Area, and added four touchdowns in an opening round district playoff victory over West Scranton.
If Wyda had to offer his own personal scouting report as to what he feels his strenghts are, he gets right to the point.
“It’s definitely my vision,” he said. “My burst through the hold for the first 10 to 20 yards. I have shown a little breakaway speed. I wish the opportunity will present itself more.”
Berwick’s Len Wyda runs the ball against Pittston Area. In that game, Wyda had a season-high five rushing touchdowns.