Elysian Fields’ football team doesn’t spend much time talking about individual stats but it’s hard not to be at least a little impressed by what the Yellow Jackets have done offensively so far this season.
The team is in the second round of the playoffs with an overall record of 9-2 after going 6-0 against district opponents. The Jackets are averaging 294 rushing yards per game, 214 passing yards per game and 39.9 points per game. Eight different Yellow Jackets have rushed the ball and 14 have caught a pass.
“I don’t ever talk about stats,” Elysian Fields athletic director and head football coach Scott Ford said. “I try not to make that a point of emphasis but the accumulation of what they’ve done is pretty impressive. Once I started writing it down last week, I was like, ‘That’s unbelievable.’”
The offense is led by senior quarterback Ryan Wilkerson who’s currently 127-of-177 for 1,901 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 902 yards and nine touchdowns on 85 carries. William Goodnight has the most carries with 110 for 797 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kyle Storey has 45 carries for 389 yards and six scores to go along with four catches for 37 yards and one touchdown. Trell Devers has rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns on 59 carries. Jackson Illingworth has 38 catches for 531 yards and five touchdowns. Bradan Manning has 31 catches for 606 yards and nine touchdowns. Montana Warren has caught 23 passes for 338 yards and one touchdown. Will Ford has 17 receptions for 203 yards and a pair of scores.
“I would say the attention to detail when it comes to our passing game he (Ford) has implemented for years,” Elysian Fields offensive coordinator Kevin Brown said when asked what the key has been to the offensive success.
“If you come to a seventh-grade practice, I’d venture to say nobody throws the ball in practice as much as we do. I’ve been a lot of places and I’ve never seen it. I’ve been to the 6A level all the way down to 3A and I’ve never seen the amount of repetition that we get for the passing game. Obviously talented players have something to do with that as well. I don’t think any good coach is a good coach without talented players. Like I said, the attention to detail in practice, the amount of repetition and the talent of our players all combine to the product on the field.”
“We really don’t pay attention to the fame or whatever it’s called,” Goodnight said. “We just play our game.”
“I think the big thing about our offense is we’re so deep at the skilled positions,” Storey offered. “We’ve got three running backs who are going to come in and do their jobs and multiple receivers.”
“And a lot of us have been playing with each other forever,” Will Ford added. “We’ve all been in the same offense so we’ve got a lot of chemistry together. We know where the ball’s going. We know where we’ve got to be.”
“We don’t have anybody with an absurd amount of numbers over everybody else,” Illingworth continued. “We’re very versatile.”
The type of production EF has put up offensively so far is the same type it will look for in order to advance to the third round of the playoffs as it goes up against Hooks.
“This week’s game, we can’t get behind the sticks,” Goodnight said. “We’ve just got to worry about first downs and be smart about it.”
“I think for a lot of us, we’re just taking every moment and playing as hard as we ever have because one game can be our last,” Storey said. “We’re just having a lot of fun too.”
“Each week could be our last,” Illingworth said. “We got beat in the second round last year and that wasn’t fun. It especially wasn’t fun watching the seniors. We’re just trying to soak everything in, learn from past mistakes and experiences and move on.”
Scott Ford added it requires a lot of unselfishness to have team success.
“That’s the thing, there’s only one football and they all know that there are a lot of things that are important that people don’t notice,” the coach said. “The other thing is a lot of those kids play both ways so we really don’t have a lot of time to worry about individual statistics. The sum of it is pretty impressive but it’s not anything that’s ever been discussed, not even one time until today.”
Tonight’s game between Elysian Fields and Hooks is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff from Rabbit Stadium in Atlanta.