RICHMOND – The bar has been set high for Richmond-Burton senior Brock Wood.
Wood’s older brother, Dalton, graduated in spring 2020 and was voted the 2019 Northwest Herald Football Player of the Year. As a senior, Dalton led the area with 1,723 rushing yards and also was a standout linebacker on the Rockets’ Class 4A state championship team. In 2018, senior Mike Kaufman rushed for 1,406 and also excelled at the linebacker position.
So what exactly are the expectations for Brock Wood?
“I remember my first year, [Northwest Herald sports writer] Joe [Stevenson] asked me ‘How do you replace Mike Kauffman?’, and I said ‘Dalton Wood,’ ” head coach Mike Noll said. “How do you replace Dalton Wood? Brock Wood.
“We talk to Brock and Enzo [Martinez] all the time about the last three years. They’ve been on varsity since the end of their freshmen year. They’ve been able to always play with the older kids. Now they’ve got to play and lead, and that’s a different role for them that they have to embrace. They can do it, and they will do it.”
Richmond-Burton will enter the fall season riding a 20-game winning streak. Wood played regularly on defense and was used sparingly on offense as a sophomore during R-B’s state title run in 2019, but he saw an expanded role during the six-game spring season. Wood rushed for 561 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Rockets, who went 6-0. He also had 79 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and 11 tackles for loss.
Wood and Martinez will be asked to do even more for a team that lost major contributors to graduation this spring, including lineman Luke Eckardt [now at Arizona], running back-linebacker-kicker Nick Legnaioli [Carroll College], defensive lineman Jacob Petersen [Holy Cross] and quarterback Jacob Huber.
Still, Wood is confident the Rockets will be able to pick up where they left off.
“Obviously, last year we graduated a lot of really talented kids,” Wood said. “I think, in my opinion, we’re getting just as many talented kids out this year. My grade, the senior grade, is a very athletic grade. The grade below us is just as athletic, and the four or five sophomores getting pulled up to varsity this year are going to step up just fine.”
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior won a Class 1A state championship title for wrestling in June, and within weeks jumped right back onto the football field.
“I didn’t have a break the last four or five months of the school year,” Wood said. “But football is my home. I love football. It’s my favorite sport. It’s my best sport, so I’m just happy to be out here on the field playing with my brothers at this point.”
In terms of continuing the winning streak, Noll believes there is a new one to be made for the Rockets, who open the season Aug. 27 at home against Urban Prep Charter.
“Once you get to the season, you want to win one game,” Noll said. “We always talk about process and winning each day. We were happy with what we accomplished and we were proud of the kids that accomplished it, but that doesn’t mean anything for us going forward. We have to establish our own identity this year and decide what we’re going to be.”
After three weeks of summer camps, Wood is excited to see the potential of his team and complimented the work ethic of his teammates.
“We’re still only in our third week into summer camps, so some things are still moving around,” Wood said. “Everyone is working hard, showing up every day. I think we have a 99.9% attendance rate, which is huge starting point for the season. Right now, I feel like we’re the best we could be this early in the year,” Wood said.