Colin Bryan is a patient tailback, although his knack for speeding past defenders en route to the end zone might indicate otherwise.
The Windber senior waited his turn in a Ramblers’ system that has churned out one outstanding tailback after another in recent years.
After Kevin Erickson graduated, Ramblers fans might have wondered, who’s next? Erickson had run for a cumulative 3,100 yards during his final two seasons in 2007 and 2008.
Jarid Cover answered that question in stellar fashion, gaining 2,836 yards combined during his junior and senior years.
When Cover moved on after the 2010 season, Bryan didn’t wait for someone to ask the question. He went to first-year head coach Matt Grohal and pleaded his case.
“Last year Colin played wing back for us because we had Jarid Cover back there,” said Grohal, who continued using the single-wing offense implemented by former coach Phil DeMarco during the 2004 season. “In the offseason when I got the job, he said, ‘Coach, can I move back to tailback?’ There was no hesitation because he’s a natural tailback. We’ve had Kevin Erickson and Jarid Cover, and now Colin. We’ve had some great tailbacks. He just had to wait his turn.”
The wait has resulted in huge dividends for Bryan and the 4-1 Ramblers, who host winless Ferndale on Friday.
According to Maxpreps.com, Bryan leads the state with 1,131 rushing yards on 119 carries.
That’s an average of 9.5 yards per run and a whopping 226.2 yards a game.
Four times in five weeks Bryan has rushed for at least 200 yards in a game. Once he went over 300 yards – a
318-yard, four touchdown effort in a 54-30 loss to Conemaugh Township in Week 4.
Bryan points to the Ramblers’ offensive line for clearing a path. He talks about his coaches, teammates and parents’ support.
Tradition also has played a role in his development.
“I’ve been waiting for this since I watched Kevin Erickson when I was a freshman and watching Jarid Cover last year when I was blocking for him,” Bryan said. “I couldn’t wait for my turn. I had to capitalize on my opportunities. It’s my senior year and I want to enjoy it as much as I can.”
His enjoyment has produced a bundle of points for Windber. Bryan’s 20 touchdowns – 19 rushing TDs – easily lead the area. So do his 130 points scored.
“He’s a 4.6 guy,” Grohal said. “He’s got tremendous feet in the hole. He’s got great vision.
“Colin’s work ethic in the offseason is unbelievable. We require them to be in there three days a week, but he’s in there four days a week. Other kids feed off of that work ethic. He’s been a great leader in that way. He’s a tremendously gifted athlete.”
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