They were the two best players on the two best teams on the gridiron this past fall. North Montgomery’s Ross Dyson and Southmont’s Wyatt Woodall both led their respective teams to great seasons. The Chargers ended the season 6-5 while claiming the county title and knocking off Western Boone in the sectional for the teams first winning season since 2019. Southmont had the most historic season in school history and made it all the way to the semi-state with a record of 8-6. Woodall and Dyson both took the reigns of their teams as Dyson manned the QB position and the most successful season of his high school career, leading the dynamic Charger offense. Woodall was the engine of the Mountie offense as well as on the defensive side of the ball being in on nearly every tackle at linebacker.
For these two seniors they both saved their best football for their final seasons. Both Woodall and Dyson have the title of 2023 Journal Review Co-Football Players of the Year.
Let’s take a deeper dive into both of these seniors and the season’s that they had.
Dyson caps off career with stellar season
This past fall, Dyson led a Charger offense that was about as balanced as one can be. In total the Chargers tallied 1,631 passing yards and 1,481 yards on the ground. A majority of those yards came from Dyson who ended his season with 1,597 passing yards and 14 touchdowns on 117-217 (54%) attempts. On the ground is where Dyson took his game to another level this season. North Montgomery instilled a read-option element to their offense. That allowed Dyson to showcase his ability as a runner as the signal caller rushed 144 times for 582 yards and 10 touchdowns to bring his senior season totals to 2,169 total yards and 24 total touchdowns.
Charger coach Josh Thompson has seen the work that his senior QB put into becoming the type of player that he showed on the field this past year.
“Ross has put a lot of time and effort into the program,” Thompson said. “It’s started ever since he began in the youth league with us. Seeing him being able to grow and mature throughout his high school career has been a tremendous thing to watch. His leadership ability is something that has really grown along with his play on the field. His leadership is probably the thing that I’ve been impressed with the most. He was put in a position at quarterback where he was forced to lead, but he rose to that challenge very well from day one.”
Dyson took over at the quarterback position full time last season for the Chargers. In his two full season’s at the helm he’s thrown for 2,709 yards and 23 touchdowns. Ever since his sophomore season however, he’s been a workhorse on the ground. In three seasons he’s racked up 425 carries for 1,553 yards. Dyson and his Charger teammates knew they had the chance to have a great senior season and it’s safe to say they lived up to their own expectations.
“The mentality for us was that we wanted to leave a mark when the season was over,” Dyson said. “We wanted to be remembered for something when our time playing football was over with. It all started this summer from the very first day of workouts. We all came in with goals and knew what it would take to get there. It started with getting 1% better every day. That’s really what led to the success that we had this season.”
That success as previously mentioned included a county title and a three-way tie for third place in Sagamore Conference with a 4-3 record. It was the Chargers best finish in the SAC since 2019. Their two wins over the Stars were their first since the 2014 season as well.
Dyson this season, with the Chargers implementing the read-option into their offense was asked to do even more than normal. From the beginning of the season Thompson and the rest of the coaching staff put the trust into their senior QB’s hands knowing he’d make the right decision.
“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into our offense and especially this past year,” Dyson said. “I’m just thankful for the coaching staff putting their trust in me and knowing that I’m the best guy for the job. It’s a lot more than just going out there on Friday nights and getting it done. The reps and repetition in practice throughout the week along with watching the film, that goes into knowing what to do on Friday night so I can be the best version of myself for this team.”
Dyson through it all never made it about himself and his individual success. Thompson noted how he saw his senior leader constantly wanting to get better with his teammates and that even translates down to the younger players on the Chargers. They see the work that Dyson and this Charger senior class put in and they want to carry that with them.
“It says a lot about Ross that he was always a team-oriented player,” Thompson said. “He was a player that all coaches love to have because he was always un-selfish and wanted to do the little things. He also wanted to leave a lasting impression here at North Montgomery. I couldn’t be prouder of the player and person that he’s become for us and the things he’s accomplished.”
Woodall leads Mounties to best season in school history
Southmont football had everything fall into place this past fall and Woodall was a very big part of that. The Mountie senior was a dominant force on both sides of the ball. When all was said and done after the Mounties bowed out against North Posey in the semi-state and the stats were finalized, it was a season that Woodall and his Mountie teammates can certainly be proud of.
On the season Woodall rushed for 1,403 yards and scored 24 rushing touchdowns. Defensively he was just as good, if not better as he led the state in total tackles with 204 to go along with a pair of sacks and interceptions. The accolades this past season for Woodall include being named to the 2A All-State Team, becoming just the fifth player in county history to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards, and having the single game, single season and career tackle records at Southmont. The final stats for Woodall’s career include 3,509 rushing yards, 44 touchdowns, 469 total tackles and 40 for loss.
One final time, Woodall took a look back at the season that was for the Mounties.
“Incredible doesn’t do it enough justice,” he said. “I can’t count the amount of people who came up to me or my teammates and told us congrats on the season. The game unfortunately does come to an end for everyone at some point. But after we’ve all had time to sit back and reflect on it we have nothing what so ever to be ashamed of. It was a great way for a group of guys who put everything into the sport, to end. This run we had will be something I remember for the rest of my life.”
Southmont coach Desson Hannum took some time to look back on the career of Woodall and the impact that he had ever since day one of his freshman season.
“When you look at the totality of it, it’s about as good as any Southmont football player could have,” Hannum said. “He’s going to go down as one of if not the best to ever wear a Southmont uniform. All of the accolades and recognition that he’s gotten over the course of his career is well deserved. You have to be happy to have a player like him come through the program because he’s such a tremendous kid who knows nothing but working hard.”
Woodall’s motor is almost un-matched by any player he steps on the field with. Not once has he shied away from contact and always seems to be around the football on defense. Offensively whether it be a stiff arm, using his shoulders or even sometimes dragging multiple defenders with him, Woodall makes sure he’s putting his stamp on each and every game.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have great guys around me who did their jobs just like I did mine,” Woodall said. “Our coaches also gave us incredible game plans each and every week and that’s another reason we were so successful. If it wasn’t for all of those people, I wouldn’t have hardly any of these stats or accolades. It wasn’t just my doing because and it really says a lot about everyone I had around me.”
Hannum also recalls the first time he saw and interacted with Woodall during his youth league and time in junior high. It didn’t take him very long to see the talent that Woodall possessed and he immediately knew that he had a special player waiting in the ranks.
“He was one of those players that stood out immediately,” Hannum said. “You knew right away that this was a kid who was going to be contributing very heavily probably almost right away. He was very dominant at that level especially from a physicality standpoint. He was just bigger and stronger than anyone else out there and those traits carried over to his high school career and once he got on the field for us, the rest was history.”
Now that Woodall has put up his pads for the final time, he spoke on what he wants his legacy to be with the Mounties. It’s one that will be talked about forever in Southmont history and there’s plenty of good things to say about No. 9
“I want people to think about not just me, but this team and just remember how hard we’ve worked to accomplish what we did,” Woodall said. “I think about the legacy thing a lot and I want to be known as the guy who was an excellent leader who would always be the first guy to come pick you up at the bottom of the pile.”
In closing, Woodall also made sure to give his props and congrats to Dyson as the two may play for different schools, but the two seniors have a mutual respect for one another and what each was able to accomplish in their careers.
“Ross is a heck of a player and 100% deserving of this too,” he said. “Just like me he’s a hard-nosed, tough guy and had a great year.”
The careers and seasons for both Woodall and Dyson are ones that will be remembered for quite sometime. Not only were both players tremendous on the field, but they were great leaders and role models for their respective teams.