TIOGA CENTER —Most schools have had at least one superior athlete. They’ve had that one player — whether lineman or back — who transcends the game and can dominate on the field.
Tioga has had a regular string of those guys. The latest is sophomore Emmett Wood, who burst on the scene last season as a freshman on a team that made it to the New York State Class D semifinals and led the Tigers to the Section IV Class D championship game again this season.
In October, Wood amassed 716 yards on 63 carries with 15 TDs. It should be noted that he had seven carries or fewer in two of those four games. As if averaging 11.4 yards per carry isn’t enough, Wood also had two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He has saved his best for playoff teams as the season has progressed. On Oct. 13, Wood carried the mail 34 times for 289 yards and five touchdowns in beating Greene 48-20.
That’s why Wood is the Morning Times’ Male Athlete of the Month.
He kept the ball rolling in November. On Nov. 2, he ran 33 times for 277 yards and six touchdowns in the Tigers’ 41-20 playoff win over Delhi. That gives Wood 993 yards and 21 TDs in the last five games alone.
“It’s great to see the line dominate,” said Wood. “It opens up all those lanes. Towards the end of the game everything opens up. You just have to be patient and wait for it. Everyone’s dead by that point.”
As someone who has played in the backfield and in the Tioga system throughout his football-playing life, Wood was well aware of the expectations one would face as a feature back at the high school level.
“I knew that we’ve always had good backs so I just wanted to fill in with what we’ve had forever.”
One guy whose career Wood watched was Jesse Manuel, a generational talent who, with over 8,000 yards, has the second-most rushing yards in New York State history.
“When I was younger watching him his senior year, I said I was going to beat his records. But I really don’t care about that. I just want to try to get that state title like he did. He ended his career the best way he ever could. It would be nice to be able to do that.”
Getting to know Emmett Wood
Favorite subject: Global Studies
Favorite pro sports team: Arizona Cardinals (but he prefers college).
Favorite local restaurant: The Grille. We go there every Monday for wing night.
Favorite TV show: Riverdale.
Favorite movie: The Star Wars movies.
Future plans: I just know I want to play college football