Super 25 Captain

Unselfish Woodley leads way for Hartley

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Ja'Wuan Woodley rushed for 1,709 yards and 23 touchdowns in leading the Hawks to a Division IV regional final.

It takes only a glance at the stat sheet to see the biggest example of the unselfishness that Ja'Wuan Woodley of the Hartley High School football team has tried to display this season.

Through 12 games, the 5-foot-11, 230-pound senior had only 33 more carries than fellow running back Marcellus Calhoun despite having been the Hawks' go-to player on offense the last two seasons.

That hasn't hurt Woodley's stats, however, as he had 1,709 yards and 23 touchdowns on 214 carries while Calhoun had 1,435 yards and 23 scores.

The Hawks were 12-0 and ranked first in the final Division IV state poll before playing Ottawa-Glandorf in the Region 14 final Nov. 16.

Combine his offensive numbers with his ability to lead the defense at inside linebacker in Hartley's 3-5 scheme and Woodley is the first Hawks player to be named ThisWeek's Super 25 captain.

"People have been starting to game plan against me, and I think I've been doing pretty well," Woodley said. "I'm just trying to lead my team and I'm not really too worried about getting the stats."

A Toledo recruit, Woodley was the state and district Defensive Player of the Year last season. This year he is the district Offensive Player of the Year. Through 12 games, he had eight receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown, six two-point conversions, two interceptions and was among the Hawks' leading tacklers.

On Sept. 28 in a 28-14 win over Watterson in the first meeting between the schools since 1996, he rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown, completed a pass for 71 yards and had an interception.

Last season, Woodley rushed for 1,403 yards and had 17 touchdowns and made the Super 25 as the Hawks went 12-1.

"He's a tough, physical football player," Hawks coach Brad Burchfield said. "He's like a quarterback on the field on defense. He can pick up on things and is a really smart player. He's so powerful. I don't know how other coaches get their kids fired up to tackle him because he's just such a monster."