Lafayette Jeff senior safety Woody Archibald puts up big numbers on the stat sheet.
As a junior, that meant 105 tackles and seven interceptions, both team highs.
Yet the numbers on the roster don’t exactly intimidate. The 160-pound weight might be accurate, and the 5-foot-9 height is probably a bit generous.
“I wish I was bigger; the hit would be a lot bigger,” Archibald said. “But I like being a little guy, because the coaches on the other team don’t really expect it. When I bring it, they’re surprised.”
The Bronchos are no longer surprised. Archibald is the heart of a fast, experienced Lafayette Jeff defense that hopes to take a step up this season.
“He’s small, but he brings that powerful punch,” Jeff senior linebacker Irving Madden said. “He really makes our defense whole, like a unit.”
Dennis Archibald Jr. acquired the nickname “Woody” shortly after birth. He’s not certain of the origin, though one theory credits the main character of the movie “Toy Story,” which came out around the time he was born.
“Everyone in the school calls me that,” Archibald said. “I don’t really like teachers calling me that, but they end up calling me that at the end of the year.”
While Archibald’s frame might not make him an obvious fit for safety in the Bronchos’ 3-5 stack defense, his attitude does.
“He’s just got a great nose for the ball, which is what makes him so good at safety,” Jeff coach Andy Kennedy said. “He’s not afraid to take on bigger guys.”
Lafayette Jeff allowed 33.6 points per game last season, a number that must come down if the Bronchos want to challenge for their first winning record since 2008. Archibald is one of seven returning starters on defense and part of a senior class that is motivated to point the program in a new direction.
Each big play from the smallest guy on the field provides Jeff an emotional lift as well.
“It makes everybody else get hyped up, and it makes everyone else feel like they can make those big plays too,” Jeff senior linebacker Justin Gordon said.