Ward helps revive Brandywine football program

Published 2:54 pm Thursday, October 2, 2014

Marty Ward Jr. has helped the Brandywine football program enjoy tremendous success. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Marty Ward Jr. has helped the Brandywine football program enjoy tremendous success. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

For the fans of the Brandywine program, the past few seasons must have felt like a blur, as the Bobcats have suddenly found themselves in the midst of the most prolonged period of success since the powerful squads of the mid-to-late 1990s.

Over the span of a decade (2000-to-2010), Brandywine football was marred in a maelstrom of mediocrity and desolation. The Bobcats would only experience a winning record three times (2000, 2002, 2010), throughout the 2000s, with all three occasions coming on a 5-4 season record. They would finish the decade with a record of 42-56 (.428).

Then, in 2011, the winds of change finally blew through and turned the tides of fortune in Brandywine’s favor.

The Bobcats were able to right their ship with a sudden influx of incredibly talented group of younger players. Brandywine coach Mike Nate was able to marshal the abilities of players such as Courtlan Gordon, Michael Shelton, Alec Nichols, Brian Kline, Chance Ravish, Cory Katterheinrich and a slew of other players, to successfully alter the culture around the program.

Fast forward to today.

For a long-maligned outfit, navigating newly found success like back-to-back playoff berths, a near perfect season and the natural bravado that of a core group of players that have gone 15-5 (.750) over their last 20 games; the swirling pressures and expectations, born of a season anew, can be difficult to manage.

Fortunately, it appears as if the Bobcats are well equipped to weather the storms of uncharted seas.

Though virtually no one can deny that Brandywine’s ship is ultimately helmed by its sublimely-talented quarterback, Andrew Duckett; even less people can refute who the engine is that powers the Bobcats forward.

Marty Ward Jr.

The senior captain, and two-way battering ram, is leading his team this season in rushing yards (598), rushing touchdowns (11), tackles-for-loss (7) and total tackles (54) through the first four games.

Ward’s signature game came this year against Centreville where he delivered with 219 yards rushing and six touchdowns in the 67-35 win.

“He holds everyone, and I mean everyone, coaches included, accountable,” Nate said. “He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching, and his work ethic and demeanor makes everyone around him better.”

Nate said he believes that having players like Ward are “absolutely vital” to sustaining the type of success his program has experienced the past few years.

“Our team works hard day-in and day-out. They keep to the grind and understand why we as coaches ask them to do the things we have them do. Their only goal is to get better; and I think a lot of that has to do with the leadership guys like Marty provide,” said Nate.

With their record currently standing at 4-1, the Bobcats are hoping that Ward can continue his current tear and propel his team to a third straight playoff berth.