Tackling the ECC leaderboard


Margaret Wealer

The WHHS defensive line stands countering the Aiken offensive line, waiting for the ball to be snapped during the game on Aug. 20.

While the WHHS football team has struggled this season, the defensive line has been quietly dominant. They have been racking up tackles and sacks, making a mark on the Eastern Cincinnati Conference (ECC)  leaderboard. 

SENIOR Isaiah Williams leads the conference, with 65 tackles and four sacks in total this season after the Loveland game on Oct. 1. To put into perspective how dominant he is, the next leading tackler, Reed Stewart from Loveland, has only 51 on the season. 

“It feels great [to be the leading ECC tackler], but I am hoping to hit 100 [tackles],”  Williams said. 

His talent is not going unnoticed by college teams. Williams recently received an offer to play collegiate football at Mount Saint Joseph, and had previously received one from Akron University. 

“I am undecided where I want to go to college as of right now but I’m planning to get many more offers,”  Williams said. 

According to the ECC football statistics website, WHHS has three of the top ten tackles leaders in the conference. Williams is first, Makan Sacko, ‘23 is fourth, and SENIOR Avery Wyatt is ninth. Considering there are ten teams in the conference, this is a pretty impressive number. 

“It’s a huge accomplishment for us three personally and as a team. No one really respects WHHS football, so seeing three of our players in those ranks definitely puts some fear in the other team’s eyes,”  Wyatt said. 

To get the opposing offense off the field as quickly as possible, WHHS usually plays in a man to man coverage. This means that each defender is assigned to a specific opposing player to mark instead of covering a certain area of the field, which is what zone coverage is. 

“We play man to man more often because we’re not getting the hang of zone. Most teams in the conference are better to defend with man to man anyway,”  Sacko said. 

For the defense to be best prepared for their opponent, a large chunk of time must be spent in the film room. The WHHS team dedicates Saturday’s and Monday’s to film study. 

After watching film on other team’s games, defensive players are familiar with opposing teams formations and can identify what they may run when lined up across from them. 

“For example, if West Clermont comes out in a Wing T we can assume they are going to run the ball and be prepared for that,”  Sacko said. 

When playing in man coverage, the linemen and linebackers are able to blitz the quarterback more frequently, something Williams and Sacko enjoy doing. 

“My favorite moment this season was when I helped Isaiah get a sack. We ran a stunt against Milford,” Sacko said. 

Despite the defensive line making big plays, the team’s record is not what they hoped for, at 2-6 after the West Clermont loss. However, a brotherhood has formed among the players. 

“The season has been a blast. I have a caring and loving coaching staff that we are very thankful for. We have a special connection that wasn’t present years before,”  Williams said.