Despite two losses as the bookends for the season, the Wynford High School football team came out as league champions and the top seeded team in the Division VI, Region 20.
The Royals (9-2) lost its first game of the regular season to a non-conference team, Liberty-Benton, 17-14.
“I think the kids got a valuable lesson,” said Wyfnord head football coach Gabe Helbert.
The Royals made the necessary adjustments and went on to win its next eight games averaging a spread of 40 points including a 41-14 victory over the No. 3 seed Colonel Crawford Eagles (10-2). The team finished as the champion of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference.
“We took care of business,” Helbert said.
But Wynford’s season came to an end in the regional quarterfinals of the playoffs with a 21-15 defeat from the No. 8 seed Delta (7-4). Helbert noted some similarities between the team’s two losses of the season.
“We had an opportunity to win (both games),” he said.
Losing in the playoffs left a “feeling of unfinished business,” for the team, he added.
The team loses 14 seniors after this season including wide receiver Tony Watson and running back Nick Looker.
Watson finished the season with 20 catches for 443 yards and seven touchdowns, while Looker had 142 carries for 1,091 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“It’s going to be a challenge to replace those kids,” Helbert said.
But quarterback Zach Hoffman is expected to return next season for his senior year. He was 70-of-114 passing for 1,197 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also had 166 carries for 1,311 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The Royals look to compete next year and once again win its league championship and some playoff games.
“We’re just going to have to work hard,” Helbert said.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.