Wren gets everything out of his game

Wren gets everything out of his game

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Wren gets everything out of his game

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Male athlete of the month Tyler Wren, from Ridgedale, poses for a portrait on the Ridgedale football field.

Male athlete of the month Tyler Wren, from Ridgedale, poses for a portrait on the Ridgedale football field.

MORRAL – Opposing teams’ offenses made Ridgedale High School junior linebacker Tyler Wren a target this fall.

That’s because the son of William and Dorothy Wren of Marion stands only 5-foot-10 and weighs just 145 pounds.

Those aren’t numbers one would normally associate with a high school football linebacker. When foes saw him in that position, they assumed he was easy prey.

That was not the case.

“I heard the talk,” said Wren, the Fahey Bank Male Athlete of the Month for October. “They would point me out and I would say, ‘Come this way.’

“It motivated me. I would tell guys after a play, ‘I’m this tall and barely weigh anything, and I tackled you.’ “

That kind of attitude led to 130 tackles this season for Wren, a stat that led the Northern 10 Conference.

He recorded 98 solo stops, and he tied for sixth place in the Northern 10 with 14 tackles for losses. He added one quarterback sack and one fumble recovery.

So how does he do it despite his diminutive stature?

“It all depends on form,” he said. “If you have good form, it’s easy to tackle. If you have bad form, you get run over all of the time.”

His play impressed Ridgedale football coach Pat Ballenger.

“He held down the middle of a very young and inexperienced defense,” Ballenger said. “Tyler, at his size, stood his ground and plugged the middle while learning his position in a new defensive scheme.

“He is a very hard-nosed, energetic and motivated student-athlete that loves the game of football.”

Wren and his twin brother, Trevor, were the leaders of the Rockets’ defense this season. Trevor Wren also played at linebacker.

Tyler Wren followed in the footsteps of former Ridgedale ‘backer Jared Wisniewski, who graduated last year.

“I knew I had to lead the team this year and step up my game,” Tyler Wren said. “My brother and I were the main parts of our defense.”

A tight end on offense, he began playing linebacker in the last two games of the 2014 season. Before that, he was a safety, cornerback and defensive end.

Tyler Wren said he likes his new linebacker position.

“It’s the best spot around,” he said. “Learning from Jared got me to where I am. It’s a special honor for me, taking his spot. He is on our Wall of Fame, and that’s where I want to be.”

He described his style at linebacker as controlled and positive.

“I just go out there and play my game,” he said. “You can’t be overconfident, but if I don’t go all out and make tackles, I let my team down. I’ve got to go out there with my ‘A’ game.”

Tyler Wren battled through a hamstring injury during the latter portion of the season to record his big tackle numbers.

“Halfway through the year, I messed up a hammy, and I knew if I sat out, I’d hurt my team,” he said. “I just took it easy in practice, but I went all out in games.”

He said he has several goals for the Rockets’ 2016 season.

“My goals are to get on that Wall of Fame and be a team captain,” he said. “I want to be a leader and be a good role model for the rest of the team.”

dmcphers@nncogannett.com

740-375-5158

Twitter: @starsportsdenny

Honorable mentions

Roberto Oswald, Marion Harding cross country

Pablo Salinas, Elgin cross country

Brady Thompson, Pleasant soccer

Devin Hessler, River Valley football

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