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Newton’s Wood signs to play William Penn football

Published: Thursday, March 5, 2015 10:59 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, March 5, 2015 11:26 a.m. CST

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Tyler Wood is a multi-sport athlete. He has excelled in all three sports — football, basketball and baseball — in his four years at Newton High School.

As Newton High’s career passing leader, Wood signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play football for William Penn University in Oskaloosa.

“It was a tough decision,” Wood said following the signing. “Ever since the Pella game, I’ve really missed football. I know there were a lot of things I could have done better and can do better in the future. I wanted another opportunity to play football.”

William Penn’s Statesmen went 7-4 overall in 2014 and was ranked 19th in the NAIA postseason top-25 poll. Three of their four losses were to the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 ranked teams. William Penn was 3-2 in the Mid-States Football Association Midwest League.

“It’s a great coaching staff. I love the campus — it feels like home,” Wood said of his decision to go to William Penn. “I felt welcomed by everybody on my visits. I was invited to their team banquet and getting to stay with one of the former quarterbacks was a good experience.”

Wood was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Cardinals. He earned Class 3A district honors three straight years, including Class 3A District 6 first-team honors as a senior.

“We trust Coach (Ed) Ergenbright in what he says, in that Tyler is a great leader,” William Penn head football coach Todd Hafner said.

“He is a great football player. We know we’re getting someone who is going to compete on a daily basis and bring a great knowledge of the game to our football program.”

Hafner has been at the helm of the Statesmen football program for 12 full years. Newton High head football coach Ed Ergenbright had Wood leading the Cardinal offense the past three seasons.

Wood ended his NHS career with four career passing records for the Cardinals. He has the most career touchdown passes, 30, most yards passing in a career, 3,496, most pass attempts in a career, 461, and most pass completions in a career, 350. Wood also owns the most touchdown passes thrown in a season, 13, and most touchdown passes thrown in a game, four, set in 2013.

“I have a competitive attitude. I don’t like to lose and I’m never going to give up,” Wood said of what he believes he can take with him into the WP program. “I want to win.”

As a senior, Wood led Class 3A District 6 in passing yards with 1,132 on 74 completions out of 138 attempts. He tied for second in touchdown passes with nine and he threw four interceptions.

Wood was sixth in the district in rushing with 754 yards on 166 carries, which is a 4.5-yard per carry average. He scored 10 touchdowns running the football. He was Newton’s leading rusher for the season. Wood finished third in total offense, combining rushing and passing yards, and was seventh in scoring with 66 points.

“We know he has a great work ethic,” Hafner said. “We’re looking at Tyler as a quarterback. The thing about Tyler is he is such a good athlete. If for some reason it doesn’t work out at quarterback — and we don’t have any reason to think it wouldn’t — you can always play someone like him in the secondary. You’re going to get his best effort no matter where he plays for you.”

Wood also played defensive back for the Cardinals racking up 33 unassisted tackles and 20 assisted tackles, which was fourth on the team. He recovered a team-high three fumbles and he made three interceptions.

It was a new district for Newton in 2014. The Cardinals were in the fray for the Class 3A District 6 championship right to the end. They finished tied for second with Bondurant-Farrar and Gilnbert with 4-2 district records. Newton was the No. 4 seed into the playoffs from the district. Ballard was the district champion at 5-1.

Newton ended the season in the second round of the 3A playoffs, losing to top-ranked Pella. Newton and Gilbert (8-3) made it to the second round while Ballard (7-3) and Bondurant-Farrar (6-4) lost in the first round of the playoffs.

It was the first time in the playoffs for Newton since 2012. The Cardinals finished 7-4.

Wood was a dual-threat quarterback for Newton. He said he wanted to go to college for football to see how he compares to others.

“The passing records are great. My teammates are a big part of those records and all I was able to accomplish in football,” Wood said. “As a sophomore, the older guys brought me in and treated me like family. My junior year I began to be more of a leader. I want to thank my offensive linemen for blocking for me and all those who caught the passes over the years.”

Wood said he believes his mental toughness is an asset as a quarterback. He said being able to use his legs to move and get out of trouble has helped him.

Wood said he plans to major in education at William Penn. He is the son of Monica and Scott Pritchard and Mike Wood.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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