HANOVERTON, Ohio (WKBN) – In football, the “team” concept is vital for the success of the whole squad. All eleven players must work together as one in order to accomplish their goals. But there always seems to be certain players who will stand out from the rest.
For the United Eagles 2017 football team, that standout player is their running back/safety Cade Wood. The 5’8, 175-pound senior hopes to have a bounce-back season after missing the second half of the 2016 season with a nagging injury.
“We are not trying to focus on one guy so much as we are the team this year,” Eagles coach Michael Demster admitted. “But for Cade, he is just such a powerful young man. The power he has, the speed he has, some of the moves he makes. His ability, especially his jump cuts and things of that nature, just his sheer athleticism is far superior to a lot of players that I have coached.”
“With his size, he is very compact and very powerful. We hope he is a big part of our offense this year if we can keep him healthy,” Demster added.
Keeping healthy was the problem in 2016 as Cade had a great start to the season. In fact, he was at the top of the rushing leaders in the ITCL half way through the season. And despite missing the whole second half of the season he still finished as one in the top ten rushers in the ITCL with 768 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“We were doing pretty good,” Cade remarked. “The line was doing good. We had a rough game against Lisbon, and then against McDonald right before halftime I hurt my ankle and was out for the rest of the season.”
Cade admitted that it was difficult to watch his team and the games without being able to contribute, “It was hard. Watching the team is hard to do.”
“It was a really bad ankle sprain. It was a high and low (sprain),” Cade explained. “I kept trying to come back every week and I just couldn’t get it to one hundred percent to play. I was trying, but I couldn’t run, I was trying every week but I just couldn’t.”
“He had some cramping issues in the first half of the season that kind of kept him out of the second half of a handful of games,” Demster added. “I think we dealt with all those things in the off season. He’s been to specialist trying to alleviate the cramping. His ankle is healed, he’s fine. He’s at one hundred percent right now and we’re going to do our best to keep him there the rest of the year.”
“Ten quarters of play, 769 yards is pretty solid production,” Demster reiterated. “If we can get similar stats out of him this year that would be great. I anticipate him getting a few less carries this year just because we have some talent in other places that we really want to attempt to balance our offense and spread the ball around.”
Cade is the son of Chad and Sara Wood, both graduates of United. Cade also has an older sister Grace who is a sophomore in college and a younger sister Brenna is a sophomore at United.
“Outstanding kid,” Demster exclaimed. “Comes from a fantastic family. He is very well-spoken and mild mannered. More of a leader by example, but does vocalize when things need to be corrected. He was voted a captain by his peers so I think that in itself tells you enough that you need to know about Cade Wood.”
After his playing days at United Cade hopes to go into the nursing field, “I’m looking to go into nursing, nursing is my goal. I’m more of a math, science guy.”
As far as this year, Chad isn’t focused on any records or individual statistics, “I try not to look at personal goals, I’m more of a team guy. I would rather win as a team than be an individual because that just doesn’t make good team chemistry. I look at it as a team, I’m not much of a personnel guy.”
Cade did disclose the goals he shares with his Eagle teammates, “Staying healthy, and with the new league we want to win it.”
“Anytime you have a dynamic player like Cade, he becomes a focal point of another team’s defensive planning. So again, our ability to spread the ball around a little bit and hopefully take some of that pressure off of Cade, minimize some of the pounding on him and help him sustain through ten games,” Demster remarked.
With a healthy Cade Wood rushing the ball this year for United, opponents of the Eagles will have their hands full every Friday night. How far the Eagles go this year will depend on how they work as a team.