Extra week of football is answer to dreams of Wildcats' seniors

November 08, 2011|By TIM KOELBLE |
  • Williamsport's Tyler Wise, who carries the ball into Northern Garrett territory earlier this season, will be one of the seniors leading the Wildcats intheir first-ever playoff game on Friday against Middletown.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — This week is usually when most football players start making the transition by getting some rest to start preparing themselves for winter sports like basketball and wrestling.

Williamsport has traditionally been in that position ... until this season.

The Wildcats are still wearing their practice gear this week in preparation for the school’s first-ever postseason football game, a Class 2A West date at Middletown on Friday night at 7 p.m.

“This is something we’ve waited for. It’s been a long time,” said senior Tyler Wise, the Wildcats’ receiver/defensive back. “We knew in the preseason if we gave 110 percent we could get here.”

Wise, who led Washington County with nine interceptions this season and also scored five touchdowns via pass receptions, is now a unique trivia answer at Williamsport.

Who is the only Williamsport athlete in the two major sports, football and basketball, to have competed in the postseason playoffs? Wise is the answer, also having been a starter for the Wildcats’ basketball team last year that went to the state finals.

“I’m happy for (Wise) that he has this playoff opportunity,” said coach Randy Longnecker. “Hopefully he can give some senior leadership to the others what the playoffs are about.”

Senior Alex Fridley has become the local “Fridge,” a friendly comparison to the former Chicago Bears lineman and part-time running back William Perry.

At 6 foot, 240 pounds, Fridley is like trying to tackle a 12-pack of bowling balls when he gets his feet churning in the backfield.

Fridley has picked up 637 yards rushing, including 141 in Friday’s 13-6 victory over Clear Spring. He also is a hard-hitting linebacker and either way is going to be in on a crunching play.

“I like running the football but am probably a better player defensively,” said Fridley, who has 22 tackles for losses this season.

Wide receiver/defensive end Brandon Starliper is another one of the seniors that is part of the Williamsport success.

“I’m pumped. We’re all pumped up about the playoffs,” said Starliper, who leads Washington County with 12 sacks.

“It goes back to the weights in December and the camps,” he said. “Learning new techniques and moves was really a key.”

“These guys (Wise, Fridley, Starliper) have been the kind of senior leaders we haven’t had in awhile,” said Longnecker. “They have been the first players to practice and the last to leave. They bark at others if they are dragging.”

The Wildcats, with their 5-5 record, go into Friday’s game rated as a huge underdog against the 9-1 Knights, the top seed in 2A West.

“It’s a new season and you go in with a 0-0 record,” said Fridley. “You can’t go in thinking you are going to lose.”

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