PARKER CITY — Monroe Central coach John Hochstetler had already seen Tyler Writtenhouse make an impact immediately.
When Writtenhouse and his family moved in from Yorktown, he started catching attention. He wasn’t big, but as a seventh-grader on an eighth-grade team, he posted big games. He had the speed, the quickness, and Hochstetler remembered him having a knack for running the ball.
But that guaranteed nothing when Writtenhouse, now a sophomore, made the move up from junior varsity.
Not that it stopped him.
“I definitely wasn’t really expecting how it’s been,” Writtenhouse said. “I didn’t play varsity last year much at all.
“It’s been really exciting actually.”
There were two schools of thought on how much the team could see his early impact coming. Senior Beau Combs said he’s been surprised, and with a smaller sophomore, that’s certainly a fair take. On the other side, quarterback/safety Logan Conklin knew what Writtenhouse could do. He saw the damage Writtenhouse did on JV and through the summer.
All the young back has done is surpass 100 yards in each of his first two varsity games and become a source for big plays in an offense that needed to replace playmakers in a big way. Against Centerville, he needed only 14 carries to get to 119 yards. Against Union County, a 59-yard scamper helped him get to 109 on eight carries.
“If you get him in open space, he’s real hard to deal with,” said Hochstetler, whose team faces powerful Northeastern on Friday night. “(He has) speed and ability to redirect and move, very good feet.”
A season ago, the Golden Bears (2-0) relied on a stable of runners. Then the three most productive — Sam Nash, Marcus Drummer and Austin Jones — all graduated.
But the multi-threat arrangement persists. Combs is an athlete used all over the field. Josh Randall is a mid-sized back, while Jansen Blevins is a hammer. Conklin and Wyatt Snyder both run from the QB spot.
And that leaves Writtenhouse, all 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds of him, to add in explosive plays.
“No teams really expected us to just have another guy that could fill the same spot, fill the same void as Tyler did,” Conklin said. “He’s doing an awesome job.”
Much like the split about his expected impact, people around the team had some divides about his personality. Hochstetler called him peaceful, while Combs characterized him as more outgoing. In spots he’s soft-spoken, but he has the respect of his teammates.
You might get a similar description if you asked about Drummer, Writtenhouse’s older brother.
Drummer, now running track at IU East, was on the sidelines for the season opener, imparting wisdom to his sibling. He didn’t sugarcoat it, saying Writtenhouse had big shoes to fill.
It’s not the first time the older brother imparted lessons about the game and blazing the trail when they made the move across Delaware County.
“He basically showed me everything I know,” Writtenhouse said. “I’ve been watching him since I was little. And he’s always been that big guy up there doing great things.”
They admittedly don’t look that similar on the field. Drummer was a slasher, a bit of a workhorse at times and tireless. Writtenhouse isn’t that, but in space he can go, a series of explosions, in his coach’s words.
But teammates see one link.
“Him and Marcus have the same attitude when it comes to football,” Combs said. “I think Tyler is a little more competitive than Marcus.”
That’s a good start, and Writtenhouse has already proved adept at learning the schemes the way his brother did.
Monroe Central runs one of the most complex offenses in the area, with a litany of different looks and approaches for different situations. When Writtenhouse was on the JV team, the playbook wasn’t too thick.
Now he’s had to rise to the moment, as his brother did, as the program has, increasing win totals in back-to-back seasons. But like his success and production, that impact, once again, came quickly.
“This year, I’ve had to memorize a lot of plays,” Writtenhouse said. “We have various sets, and I thought it would be pretty hard, but it’s actually easy once you get out there.”
Contact sports writer Ben Breiner at 213-5848. Follow him on Twitter @BenBreinerTSP.
Friday’s local games
•Central at Anderson, 7 p.m.
•Monroe Central at Northeastern, 7 p.m.
•Wes-Del at North Decatur, 7 p.m.
•New Palestine at Yorktown, 7:30 p.m.
•Hagerstown at Winchester, 7 p.m.
•Jay County at Southern Wells, 7 p.m.
•Delta at Shelbyville, 7:30 p.m.
•Eastbrook at Blackford, 7 p.m.
•New Castle at Pendleton Heights, 7:30 p.m.