When the Bayfield defense is on the field, Cole Wood’s name can be heard repeatedly from the public address announcer.
Wood, a senior, is another key component of the top defensive unit in Colorado’s Class 2A. The defense has recorded a school record-tying four consecutive shutout victories and seven shutouts this season, and has allowed only 49 points in 11 games, all victories.
Wood, whose father, Mike, is the team’s linebackers coach, is seemingly involved in every play.
“Cole Wood is unbelievable,” said BHS senior Ryan Phelps. “He’s (Division I) in my eyes. There’s not a thing he can’t do. He’s wicked strong, wicked fast and an all-around great player. It’s an honor to play with him.”
Opposing quarterbacks have nowhere to hide when Phelps and Wood are in pursuit. Phelps leads the team with 17 sacks, and Wood has another 11. Phelps brings pressure off one edge, and Wood applies it from the other, and it’s a race to see which Wolverine can get to the quarterback first.
“Sometimes he makes me a little mad,” Phelps said. “I’m running around following a quarterback and he beats me to him.”
Phelps and Wood compare sack numbers each week. Phelps is tied for the state lead, regardless of classification, with Regis Jesuit’s Jake Heimlicher with 17 sacks. Wood is tied for 14th with 11.
“He has to rub it in my face how he has that many more sacks than me,” Wood said. “It honestly fires me up and motivates me to try even harder knowing he’s on the other side about to beat me.”
Wood is a motivated young man. He had a breakthrough junior season with 90 tackles and 11 sacks. The 90 tackles more than doubled his total in 2015 when he was a sophomore on the state championship team.
Motivated to keep his career alive beyond high school, Wood added 15 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot frame between his junior and senior seasons to get to 205 pounds. He’s been ultra-reliable as a linebacker and on the offensive line as a guard, and even has two rushing attempts this year running a guard pull, with his long run going for nine yards.
“Knowing this is my last year here, knowing I want to move on and go further, I can only do that if I get bigger and work harder,” Wood said. “All offseason, that’s what I did. So far, it’s paying off.”
Wood will have a chance to play college football and said he will be excited to play anywhere while working to get his degree. He said none of it would have been possible without the backing of his coaches, teachers and the community of Bayfield.
“Bayfield means everything to me right now,” he said. “I’m proud of it. Without Bayfield, I feel like I wouldn’t have amounted to much.”
The Wolverines are back in the semifinals for the third consecutive year. After the 2015 state title, the team fell 14-13 to La Junta in last year’s semifinal, and the Tigers went on to claim the championship. Now, with a trip to Greeley to face No. 15 Resurrection Christian in the semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday, the Wolverines are one win away from bringing a state championship game to Bayfield. Wood wants nothing more.
“It’s incredible how hard we want to go and how far we want to take it,” he said. “We don’t want to stop.”