Tioga senior running back Emmett Wood added yet another accolade onto a stellar 2021 season, as he was named the Class D Player of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Wood was a juggernaut for the Tigers, rushing for 2,144 yards and scoring 34 touchdowns during the 2021 campaign, which ended with Tioga celebrating a state championship at the Carrier Dome.
In addition to Player of the Year, Wood was also named the Morning Times Football MVP, and All-Region MVP.
Football is constantly on Wood’s mind, and winning Player of the Year serves as a reminder of his phenomenal campaign.
“I really wanted something to end the year with,” he said. “I really miss football, so getting Player of the Year keeps reminding me of football. It’s nice to think about that.”
Wood said he was excited to win the award, but even in the heart of wrestling season, the excitement of winning the state championship is still fresh.
“It’s all great. All I wanted to do was win a state title, and we got that done,” he said. “All the extra stuff, I’m sure I’ll really look back on and cherish later on, but now we’re still thinking about how we won the state title. That’s really all that matters right now.”
When he looked back on the 2021 season, one moment — aside from the state championship game against Moriah, when he ran 32 times for 186 yards and two scores — stood out to him as a key moment in Tioga’s pursuit of a title.
“I think what really pushed us was our game against Harpursville/Afton,” he said. We thought that was going to be a close game. We thought it was going to be nasty, and then we took it to them. After that, I think all of us gained a lot of confidence. We weren’t getting stopped after that.”
Ironically, that was the one game Wood did not score in.
He ran for 125 yards on seven carries, but the offense in the 48-0 victory was geared largely by the passing game, as sophomore quarterback Caden Bellis threw for five touchdowns.
Wood has a great career to reflect on, but struggled to put into words what it may look like when he looks back on it.
After all, there is a lot to look at.
“I don’t really know how to answer that yet,” he said. “I had a great group of guys every year, and I’m happy with how everything is.”
Right now, Wood is working toward another state championship. This one is in wrestling, but when he looks to the future, he sees football.
“I’m not sure what it looks like yet,” he said, “but football is definitely in there.”