Saturday, September 1, 2007

Natural born winner Wilkinson yet to lose in PdC uniform

By TODD SOMMERFELDT / La Crosse Tribune

Tyler Wilkinson has never lost a football game while attending Prairie du Chien High School. The running back played on an undefeated freshman team two years ago and then helped the school’s junior varsity duplicate the feat last year.
Heck, he even had a big starting debut with the varsity last week by rushing for 149 yards and a touchdown in a 49-14 victory over Westby.
“I just wanted to start (this season),” Wilkinson said. “Iwasn’t really expecting to be a big-time runner.”

Wilkinson only took eight handoffs from quarterback Tyler O’Kane against Westby, but he made them count. His biggest run, a 75-yarder in the third quarter, may have been his best despite the fact that he didn’t get to the end zone.
The Blackhawks had a 21-14 lead and had just stopped the Norsemen on the goal-line. Wilkinson’s big run through the left side of the line was good enough to set up O’Kane for a 15-yard TD run and give Prairie du Chien some breathing room.
“He busted a big one there, and we even screwed up the blocking,” Blackhawks coach Aaron Amundson said. “He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he has good field vision.”
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Wilkinson used that field vision on a cutback to his right after watching the traffic in front of him flow left.
Those kind of plays will provide a change of pace from the power running style of the 6-2, 186-pound O’Kane.
The Prairie du Chien offensive line is much bigger on the right side with tackle Chris Starret (5-11, 274) and guard Joe Winklewski (6-0, 225) and Logan Mikkelson (6-1, 200) at center. But Wilkinson said success can be expected running behind tackle Kelly Nelson (6-1, 190) and Justin Goad (6-0, 158) or Kyle Sime (5-11, 180) at guard on the left side, too.
That group will have to be ready tonight for its annual trip across the state line to Decorah, Iowa.
Decorah has a Class 3A team that wins consistently and generally shows Prairie du Chien just what kind of team it has.
“This is a big one,” Wilkinson said. “I think we’ll be able to run on them. If our defense plays a good game, we could have a pretty big game.”

Tyler is the Grandson of Mary's brother and sister-in-law, Billy & Kitty.