Canal Winchester football coach Josh Stratton has a problem when it comes to multitalented senior Tyler Toledo.

"We have to keep figuring out different ways to get him the ball," Stratton said. "We need to get him the ball in space more. We're having trouble with that. Every time he touches the ball, he can score."

Regardless of whether Toledo is playing slotback, free safety or punter, he has made an impact for the Indians, who are 4-0 entering a Friday, Sept. 27, home game against Grove City.

In his third year as a starter, Toledo has rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, including a 51-yard fake punt for a touchdown in a 66-7 rout of Teays Valley on Sept. 13, and has caught nine passes for 92 yards and a touchdown and is averaging 34.2 yards per punt.

Toledo has been an important player throughout his career, during which the Indians are 19-6 with a Division II, Region 7 playoff appearance two years ago and a 9-1 record and the OCC-Capital Division championship last season. He rushed for 871 yards and 12 touchdowns on 146 carries the past two seasons combined, but this is as busy as he's ever been.

"It's a lot more (to do) than I've had, but I like it," said Toledo, who also has 15 tackles, 14 of which are solo, and seven pass breakups. "I am comfortable with running the routes, jet (sweeps), anything. It's a good spot for me. Both sides of the ball, I've been pretty comfortable with it.

"It's not just me, though. Without the offensive line and their blocking that we have in general, I couldn't do what I've been able to do. Then the defensive line with them rushing the quarterback, getting him into making a bad throw or throw he doesn't want to make, that helps us (in the secondary)."

According to Stratton, Toledo put on more muscle during the offseason and now stands 5-foot-9, 175 pounds. His various efforts do not surprise many of his teammates.

"We saw (against Teays Valley) with that fake punt, he was able to just make a play on fourth down and then he was gone," center Kevin Prior said. "We've been close for a long time. We know what the other is capable of. He's a really important part of this team."

The slotback role, which combines running back and wide receiver responsibilities, is what Stratton said he envisioned for Toledo the past few years.

"He just seemed to find the end zone. Last year (it was the) same thing; he was that change-up back as opposed to (Stephan Byrd)," Stratton said. "This year, the fact that he's playing so much offense is actually making Stephan better, too. Now you can't key on either of them. Stephan's touches are way down, but his touchdowns are way up."

Byrd has paced the Indians' ground game with 432 yards and 10 touchdowns on 78 carries as well as two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown. Last year as a freshman, he rushed for 1,258 yards and 10 touchdowns on 217 carries.

Byrd's 167 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries led the Indians to a 24-7 win at Westerville North on Sept. 20 and their first 4-0 start since 2008.

Quarterback Jack Beeler completed 12 of 22 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Grove City committed five turnovers in a 37-3 loss at Marysville on Sept. 20 to fall to 1-3, one week after snapping a 17-game losing streak with an 18-15 win at Central Crossing.

"We're on a roll right now," Toledo said. "We're continuing to get better and better and better. I think we can keep this going."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave