Deep Elmwood ready for championship run


BLOOMDALE — Elmwood averaged 43.6 points and gave up 22.7 per game last year in finishing 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the Northern Buckeye Conference.

The Royals returns 16 lettermen to aid the spread offense and 3-4 defense, but among them are last year’s top playmakers.

Hayden Wickard returns to the quarterback position after completing 148-of-221 passes (64.9%) for 2,027 yards and 24 touchdowns with just eight interceptions.

Wickard also ran for 605 yards on 102 carries (5.9 per carry) and 11 TDs.

“Hayden is very smart with the football in his hands,” coach Greg Bishop said. “He has developed even more as a run threat. Hayden is able to make the big throw.”

Mason Oliver returns at running back after running for 2,300 yards on 199 carries, good for an astronomical 11.6 yards per carry, and 29 TDs. He also caught 12 passes for 207 yards (17.3) and three TDS.

“Mason is dynamic and explosive with the ball in his hands. He is a home run threat every time he touches the football,” Bishop said.

Bishop says Wickard and Oliver are both potentially “scholarship football players” who can play at the next level if given the opportunity.

“Both can play at a high level in college football. Both players are gaining more and more interest from colleges going into their senior year,” Bishop said.

Micah Oliver caught 21 passes for 426 yards (20.3) and six TDs.

“Micah is a big physical receiver who can go up and get the football no matter where he is on the field. He is explosive when he touches the football,” Bishop said.

Mason Mossbarger caught 39 passes for 462 yards (11.9) and five TDs.

“Mason is explosive and is a home run threat with the ball in his hands, and he is a great route runner,” Bishop said.

Other top receivers returning are Les Voska (16 catches, 142 yards, 15.1 per catch), Cannon Endicott (10 catches, 100 yards, 10 per catch, two TDs) and Alex Arnold (12 catches, 221 yards, 18.4 per catch, two TDs).

The offensive line is led by third-year starter Zach May.

“He is the leader up front and has a deep understanding of the offense,” Bishop said. “He is big and physical up front. All our offensive linemen have made great strides going into 2022.

The defensive line is led by Owen Seedorf (10 tackles, three tackles for a loss, one sack) and Luke Barringer (15 tackles, three TFL, one pass break-up).

“Both return up front with experience. Both have taken big steps forward in the weight room and with their football knowledge,” Bishop said.

Bishop says middle linebacker Adam Meyer “has a nose for the ball and plays at a high level every snap and is a very physical football player.”

Mason Oliver (78 tackles, 11 TFL, two sacks, one pass break-up, one forced fumble), at safety, “can play sideline to sideline and plays at a very high level on both sides of the ball.”

At safety Arnold (32 tackles, one TFL, five pass break-ups, two interceptions) “has taken a big step forward going into 2022. He is a very physical football player who helps balance out the secondary.”

Two defensive ends, Seedorf and Thomas Veryser, have shown solid growth since last year.

Owen Seedorf has developed in the weight room and is a very coachable player,” Bishop said. “Thomas Veryser has made great strides all summer and committed himself to the weight room.”

Other top defenders returning are Micah Oliver (25 tackles, five TFL, nine PBU, one interception) Brennan Hiser (37 tackles, three TFL, and six PBU), Mossbarger (11 tackles, one TFL seven PBU, and Endicott (12 tackles, one interception).

Bishop says there is a chance for some younger players to step in and help make an NBC championship a reality.

“We need to continue to develop younger players behind our starters. We need to continue to build depth across the board,” Bishop said.

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