Tom Wood is a Delaware State Trooper and serves as the school resource officer at Brandywine High.
He is also the Bulldogs’ football coach. And as you can imagine, he’s a no-nonsense kind of guy.
“We’ve got a good bunch of kids,” Wood said Tuesday. “We’re trying to instill some discipline. We’re trying to make young men out of these boys. We’re trying to teach them some priorities in life. The football stuff is secondary.”
The tough love is paying off. Brandywine endured a 29-game losing streak from 2008-11. Now, in Wood’s second season, the Bulldogs are 4-1 going into Saturday’s homecoming game against Mount Pleasant (1-4). Kickoff is at noon.
“It’s fun to come to work so far this year,” Wood said. “The whole atmosphere in the school seems better. More smiles on the faces on Monday mornings, all of the teachers and kids patting kids on the back and telling them, ‘Good job.’ It’s exciting.”
The Bulldogs began to show some bite last season, winning four of their last six games to finish 4-6. That has carried over to this year, as Brandywine defeated St. Elizabeth, Archmere, McKean and Christiana. A 35-13 loss at Lake Forest on Sept. 20 is the only dent in the record.
“The No. 1 thing is, we’re pretty balanced on offense,” Wood said. “We run the ball well and we throw it well. The defense has played pretty well, too.”
Sophomore quarterback Sayvon Willis has passed for 557 yards and four touchdowns. Receivers Paul Groome (seven catches, 257 yards) and Rich Hill (seven catches, 207 yards) are big-play threats. Senior running back Tyrezz Walker leads the ground game with 684 yards and eight TDs, while Stefon Johnson has pounded for 273 yards and seven scores.
“We didn’t have any discipline my first two years here,” Walker said. “Coach Wood came in here and he turned around the program, along with the rest of the coaching staff. They know what they’re talking about.”
Brandywine’s top four tacklers are all underclassmen – junior linebacker Johnson (51), junior end Anthony Ball (25), sophomore end De’Xuan Cadogan-Smith (22) and junior defensive back Groome (21).
The Bulldogs’ toughest three-game stretch – at Hodgson, home vs. St. Georges and at Howard – begins next week. But when Walker and his teammates are determined to earn Brandywine’s first winning season since 2007.
“It motivates us to come to practice every day and get ready for the next team,” Walker said.
Ex-baseball coach to be honored
At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Brandywine athletic community will honor William “Coach Stan” Stanziale with the dedication of a plaque at the school’s baseball field. Stanziale, who died in 2012, served as a Bulldogs assistant coach from 1990-2005. He also coached at Delaware Military Academy and Claymont and Naamans Little Leagues and is a member of the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame.