Big Walnut Roundup: Jack Wood deflects credit for scoring prowess
The decision was simple for Big Walnut boys soccer coach Adam Gatton.
But Jack Wood, who had settled into his role in the midfield, wasn’t completely sold on moving to the front of the Golden Eagles’ offensive attack.
“Something I saw about him was his ability to score,” Gatton said. “Two years ago was the first year I moved him up front. He questioned me a little bit, but something about halfway through last year just clicked.”
The senior is now Big Walnut’s top scorer, with nine of the team's 25 goals before playing Westerville North in an OCC-Capital Division contest Oct. 1.
Not only that, Wood's play has helped lead the Golden Eagles to their best start in five seasons at 7-1-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the league before playing North.
Big Walnut went 6-12 last season and 3-13-1 in 2018.
Wood scored six of his nine goals during a three-game stretch, with two in a 5-2 victory over Logan on Sept. 16, three in a 3-0 win against Franklin Heights on Sept. 17 and one in a 3-2 win over Johnstown on Sept. 19.
Compare that to Wood’s five goals last season and none as a sophomore.
He credits much of this year’s success to his teammates' selflessness and the Golden Eagles playing for each other.
“We’ve had a lot of skilled players in the past, but we didn’t have that team chemistry,” Wood said. “With most of my goals, my teammates have set me up really well, and I just finish it.”
Gatton said defenses have struggled to contain both Wood on the left side and forward Darwin Marcia, who had four goals and six assists before Oct. 1, on the right side.
Center midfielder Cody Lumby (4 goals) and midfielder Caleb Curran (3) also were among Big Walnut’s top scorers.
“Jack and Darwin have been a nice counterpunch for us,” Gatton said. “Some goals Jack has done on his own and others have come from passing. He’s scored on breakaways, crosses and headers. He’s amazing in front of the goal. He can score at any point.”
That wasn't the case his sophomore year.
Wood had trouble solidly connecting with the ball on shots or getting the right part of his foot on the ball, a skill he has worked to perfect outside of practice.
“It feels really good when you do, even if it doesn’t go in,” he said. “I’ve stayed a lot of nights after practice trying to find the sweet spot, and I think I’ve honed in on it.”
After going 1-4 to open the season, the girls soccer team had won four of six games before playing Lexington on Sept. 29.
The Golden Eagles then tied Lexington at 3 to move to 5-6-1 overall. Big Walnut was 2-2 in the OCC-Capital before playing North on Oct. 1.
Emma Barnett was the top scorer through 11 games with six goals, followed by Avery Maxeiner and Estella Truax with five and Ella Froehlich with four.
preps for playoffs
The football team was 3-2 overall and in the OCC-Capital before facing Dublin Scioto on Oct. 2, a week before the playoffs begin.
Playoff brackets were announced Oct. 1. Big Walnut is in Division II, Region 7.
On Sept. 25, Hunter Weigand’s 23-yard field goal with 2 seconds left gave Westerville North a 20-17 victory over Big Walnut.
Caden Williams finished with 180 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for the Golden Eagles.