TI­TLE TOWN

WYDA LEADS BER­WICK IN SEARCH OF PRO­GRAM'S 11TH DIS­TRICT 2 CHAM­PI­ONSHIP.

Gameface - - FRONT PAGE - By Steve Ben­nett Staff Writer sben­nett@cit­i­zensvoice.com 570-821-2062, @CVSteveBen­nett

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.”

CHRISTO­PHER DOLAN / THE CI­TI­ZENS’ VOICE

Ber­wick’s Len Wyda runs the ball against Pittston Area. In that game, Wyda had a sea­son-high five rush­ing touch­downs.

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