|Seth Hoffmann, Eastwood
football. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
Seth Hoffmann was joking last winter when he told Eastwood assistant football coach Joe Wyant he’d be
willing to play on the offensive line this season.
But the Eagle coaches liked the idea so much they took the three-year fullback up on his offer.
The senior’s move has helped fuel an Eastwood offense that is averaging 41.8 points and 366.9 yards per
game this season.
Eastwood’s next test comes Friday night at 7:30 when it hosts undefeated Patrick Henry, the state’s
top-ranked team in Division V.
Hoffmann’s willingness to change positions helped the Eagles overcome the loss of three interior linemen.
The 5-foot-10, 184-pounder mixes speed, power and smarts into solid blocking. He also starts on defense
and the linebacker leads the team with 80 tackles.
"I don’t care that I don’t touch the ball anymore. I just wanted to do anything I could to help the
team," said Hoffmann, who has a 4.0 grade-point average.
He’s already taking post secondary options classes at Bowling Green State University, and will attend
college at Toledo or Findlay where he’ll be a pharmacy major.
"The team is the most important thing," he said.
In addition to solidifying the line, Hoffman’s move also enabled Pernell Corner to start at fullback.
Conner is a powerful inside runner, providing the perfect complement to Cody Seifert’s speed to the
outside, Clayton Ruch’s passing, and the running and receiving of tight end Clay Rolf.
Joining Hoffmann on the line are Rolf, Forest Ickes, Taylor Link, Jeff Rutherford and Kris Hayward.
"Playing on the line has been great,"
he said. "I love blocking for our guys."
The transition hasn’t been easy, but Hoffman knew he had arrived as a guard the morning after Eastwood’s
41-14 win over Oak Harbor Sept. 11.
The team was watching video of the game and Eagle head coach Jerry Rutherford replayed one of Hoffman’s
blocks on a trap three or four times.
"That was awesome, laying a defensive tackle out on the ground like that," Hoffmann said.
"If the block was good enough to show that many times, I figured I must be decent. It’s been a
learning experience, difficult at times. The drills were new, so that was hard. But I’ve gotten the hang
Hoffmann’s steadily improved and has been so good he’s in the mix for all-league honors. He also could be
an all-league linebacker.
But a position change on offense wasn’t anything new for Hoffmann, who played in the secondary the last
two seasons. And he’s overcome a career filled with injuries.
He had a broken collarbone last season and tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament in the district wrestling
tournament in February. He won Suburban Lakes League and sectional titles at 160 pounds, but hurt the
knee in his first district match and didn’t qualify for state.
Hoffmann broke his hand as a freshman after breaking his leg in sixth grade. He returned to play the
final three weeks of his seventh grade season and played little as an eighth grader.
"It’s great to see him healthy and have some positive things happen," coach Rutherford said.
"He’s just a great guy. When you make a change like he did, that really shows how important the
team is to him and it says a lot of about his character."
The Eagles, 7-1 overall, need wins over PH (8-0) and at Gibsonburg (3-5) Oct. 30 to keep their chances
alive of earning a Division IV state playoff berth for the fourth straight season and sixth time in the
last eight seasons.
Eastwood’s hopes of winning the SLL all but ended Oct. 2 with a 54-11 loss to Genoa, ranked second in
"We’ve been practicing harder and harder every week," Hoffmann said. "It’s a great
challenge to face the No. 1 team in the state, but we’re a good team, too. As seniors, we haven’t won
the league, so we need to make the playoffs or else our season is over."
The Eagles have won two straight since the loss, including a 48-0 victory last week over Elmwood.
Eastwood has been hit hard by injuries and other personnel issues this season.
"Every week since Genoa has been a playoff game," Hoffmann said. "We’re all so focused
right now. Elmwood was our best game of the season, offensively and defensively. We’ve played really
well the last two weeks. We’re getting better every week."