Prep Football: Woodford thrives as J-Hawks’ running threat

By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter

In a running back-dominated conference, the Rockford Jefferson J-Hawks have the hidden gem of the NIC-10.

Dontrell Chance, Austin Smaha and Tyreis Thomas get their praise, and rightfully so. But while they get their highlight plays, the J-Hawks’ Josh Woodford is consistent and getting his 100 yards every game.

Woodford, a senior, gets lost in the shuffle when talking of the great running backs in the NIC-10. Part of it is his team is 1-2, part of it is he is also a good defender. But there is no doubt when you watch Woodford that he is among the best in the area.

He’s always been one of the key players,” quarterback Joe Ward said of his leading rusher. “He’s always been a guy we can count on. It’s nice to have one of those guys on the team.”

Last season, Woodford was lost in the shuffle as a power back for the J-Hawks. They had several key seniors with a lot of speed on the outside, which meant Jefferson relied on Woodford to get the tough yards.

But with those speed merchants gone, there is more room for a playmaker on the offense, and Woodford has supplied that, running over, through and past opposing defenses early in the season.

And as a senior, expectations are high for Woodford. His coach, Rick Schmitz, said that not only do they think he can have a great year, but he is almost obligated to.

We expect big things from Josh,” Schmitz said. “He’s a captain and a leader. He started both ways last year. He should have a good year.”

From the Sept. 14-20, 2011, issue

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