With the ability to pass or run, a knack for winning and unquestioned leadership, Daniel Wodicka led West Lafayette to an undefeated season in 2009.
From the stands, eighth-grader Parker Ronchetto watched, like many did, in amazement while the Red Devils capped a 15-0 year with a Class 3A state championship.
Three years later, Ronchetto would step under center, succeeding a recent string of standout quarterbacks that also included Matt Lancaster and Sean Busch. It went nothing like he’d planned in his head.
“I’ve always wanted to be like Daniel Wodicka,” Ronchetto said. “He’s always been such a role model for me.”
Completion percentage: 52. Passing yards: 728. Touchdown passes: 5. Yards per carry: 1.6. Record as a starter: 6-4. Ronchetto’s junior season barely could be compared to the lofty numbers that earned Wodicka Mr. Football in 2009.
Lancaster went on to play quarterback at Illinois State before transferring to Butler, where last year he earned Pioneer League Player of the Year honors. Wodicka became an All-American receiver at Johns Hopkins. Busch plays golf for Ohio State.
Ronchetto most resembles Wodicka from that bunch, so he took it upon himself to transform into that caliber of player.
Ronchetto began studying film from the 2009 season, reminiscing about Wodicka’s electrifying style of play. More importantly, he figured out how to incorporate parts of Wodicka’s game into his own.
“That’s just pure dedication on his part, trying to improve and make this a special season for all of us,” senior Everett Gorup said.
It wasn’t just Wodicka that Ronchetto was studying. It was football in general.
Video software site Hudl allows for players and coaches to sign in with a password and watch film. The site timestamps the amount each person views video.
“We’ll go down and look. Parker is hours and hours and hours and hours ahead of everyone else,” WL coach Shane Fry said. “He was watching film before the Week 1 game. He was watching old stuff. He is a student of the game, and it has paid off.”
As a senior, Ronchetto’s name belongs alongside the likes of Lancaster, Wodicka and Busch.
Statistically, it’s above them all, a tribute to Ronchetto’s tireless work ethic and a no-huddle offense that is a perfect fit for the 5-foot-9 dual-threat QB.
“Last season, it was his first year as a starter, and the offense, I don’t want to say he didn’t fit, but the offense we’re running this year is more his style,” Gorup said.
The stats prove Gorup correct.
Ronchetto is completing 67 percent of his passes for a school-record 2,465 yards. His three interceptions match last year’s total, but his 30 touchdown passes are six times his junior year total.
To complement, West Lafayette boasts senior running back Maurice Woodard, who owns virtually every Red Devil rushing record, an overpowering offensive line and an abundance of receivers, including five with multiple touchdown receptions.
Ronchetto gives them all the credit.
He thanks Fry for putting him in a system set up for him to succeed. He thanks the receivers for making spectacular catches, Woodard for grinding out tough yards and the line for providing ample time for the plays to happen.
That’s what any great quarterback does.
After a slow start to his varsity career, Ronchetto has proven he belongs in that category.