breaking news

Navy filing homicide charges against 2 ship commanders; Champaign Co. man died after ship collision

Position switch pays off for Wittenberg’s Kayser

Senior linebacker started career at running back


Wittenberg Tigers coach Joe Fincham asks seniors to speak to freshmen players at group study halls every season.

Jack Kayser filled that role Wednesday, talking to his younger teammates about his journey over the last four seasons and advising them about how to deal with all the things they’re experiencing for the first time.

“Papers are coming due,” Fincham said. “Midterms are coming up. We’re getting ready to go into our third ballgame. We’ve got our third JV game on Sunday. A lot of things are piling up on them.”

RELATED: Duncan’s grandsons continue legacy

Fincham couldn’t have found a better speaker. Kayser didn’t play much as a freshman. He was stuck behind two senior running backs as a sophomore. Last season, he switched to linebacker and earned a first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference honor in his first season at his new position, which he had not played since he was a senior at Notre Dame High School in Portsmouth.

“He’s a worker and a competitor and a fighter,” Fincham said. “If you had 100 of that guy, holy smokes.”

Kayser ranked third on the team last season with 103 tackles. Through two games this season, he ranks sixth with nine tackles.

Kayser is one of four captains for No. 16 Wittenberg (2-0, 1-0), which plays at Kenyon (0-3, 0-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday. The others are senior defensive end Chandler Ferko, junior quarterback Jake Kennedy and junior running back DeShawn Sarley.

RELATED: Snodgrass cherishes return to football

Kayser focused on himself last season. Now he has more responsibilities. Talking to the class of freshmen, which included his brother Sam, is one.

“It is an honor, but at the same time, it is more of an obligation,” Jack said. “Coach Fincham said it best. No one should be saying, ‘Oh great, I’m a captain.’ They should be saying, ‘Oh crap, I’m a captain.’ You’ve got an obligation. If anything goes bad, it’s on us first.”

Kayser’s brother is making an early impact as a freshman. Sam caught a 57-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter Saturday in a 34-0 victory over Oberlin at Edwards-Maurer Field.

Sam is the first freshman from the largest class in Wittenberg history to get in the end zone and one of the first to receiving significant playing time. The class numbered 90 in the summer and now includes 68 players, according to the roster on Wittenberg’s website.

Jack was the first player to greet Sam in the end zone after his score. Jack was on the PAT unit so had a good reason to rush onto the field to congratulate him.

“I just told him, ‘You’re still not as good as me,’ or something like that,” Jack said.

TOP SEVEN: Ranking Wittenberg’s best

Jack scored a touchdown as a backup running back two seasons ago but gave up the chance to score with regularity when he switched to linebacker. Fincham first talked to him about the switch the spring before his junior season.

“I called him in and said, ‘This is what we’re thinking,’” Fincham said. “We were thin at some spots on defense and wanted to move him. He looked like somebody shot his dog. I didn’t tell him to do it. I encouraged him to do it and give it a shot. If things didn’t work out, we could move him back.”

Kayser called the change the best decision he has made.

“If coach Fincham tells you he thinks it’s best for you, it’s best for you,” Kayser said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Fort Loramie lands former Wapak assistant as football coach
Fort Loramie lands former Wapak assistant as football coach

Fort Loramie has named Spencer Wells to succeed Whit Parks as the Redskins head football coach. It’s the first head coaching position for Wells, who last season was the quarterbacks coach at Wapakoneta. He also has been an assistant at Marion Local, Celina and Allen East. Wells is a Delphos St. John’s graduate and played on the Blue Jays&rsquo...
WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game
WATCH: 5-year-old dancer steals the show at Cavs-Warriors’ game

The halftime show of Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors featured a dancing 5-year-old whose moves amazed thousands of NBA fans around the world.  With the Cavaliers’ Scream Team in the background, young Tavaris Jones danced to the song “Rolex” by Ayo and Teo, according...
Bengals long snapper headed to Pro Bowl
Bengals long snapper headed to Pro Bowl

A third Cincinnati Bengals player has been named to the Pro Bowl after long snapper tweeted that the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff extended the invitation to him Tuesday afternoon. Harris joins defensive tackle Geno Atkins and wide receiver A.J. Green as Pro Bowl selections of the Bengals, although Green will not be playing due to an undisclosed...
Bolivar will return for second season as Dragons manager
Bolivar will return for second season as Dragons manager

Returning as the Dayton Dragons manager was a given for Luis Bolivar, although it wasn’t official until the parent-club Cincinnati Reds made that announcement on Tuesday. His Dragons roots run deep, first as a player, then hitting coach and finally as manager. This will be his second season as the Dragons’ main man and there are many reasons...
Bengals defensive end makes all-rookie team
Bengals defensive end makes all-rookie team

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carl Lawson has been voted to the Pro Football Writer Association All-Rookie Team. A fourth-round pick out of Auburn, Lawson recorded 8.5 sacks, which were just a half sack shy of the team lead despite playing just 41.6 percent of the defensive snaps. The other three defensive lineman on the all-rookie team —...
More Stories