The player they call “Big E” came up big in a big game. Then again, what else was one to expect from a high school football player who is headed to the Big 10 Conference?
Off the field, the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Ethan Wiederkehr’s demeanor is on the mellow side. On the field, well, that’s a different story.
“Psycho” was the word fellow senior Kevin Cutinella came up with.
Wiederkehr knows how to flip the switch when it’s game time. The tight end/defensive end was a one-man wrecking crew for much of Shoreham-Wading River’s 36-21 defeat of Babylon in the Suffolk County Division IV final Saturday at Stony Brook University’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.
Wiederkehr, who will play for Northwestern, was credited with 12 tackles (four for a loss), two sacks and a forced fumble.
“He’s a beast,” Shoreham senior Chris Gray said. “He’s going D-I and you could see why. He’s an unbelievable player, unbelievable heart and he’s a great leader. Ethan’s one of my good friends, so I saw a different side of him today. He was really pumped up.”
Cutinella said: “If you’re going to Northwestern, you got to be a monster. The kid’s a hell of a player, comes out in practice, competes. We got everyone following him because he’s our leader and he’s just a great player and he just played a hell of a game tonight.”
Wiederkehr impacted the game with his blocking, too, blowing open huge holes for Gray to shoot through on the way to his 341-yard game.
Wiederkehr said Shoreham’s third straight county title is sweeter than the previous two. “We were overlooked during the season and we had something to prove so I feel like we proved it with this game,” he said. “It feels amazing.” He said the Wildcats knew “we were going to come out with this W, no matter what it takes.”
“Ethan’s always been that unsung guy,” Shoreham coach Matt Millheiser said. “He doesn’t score touchdowns. He’s not a huge sack guy, but he’s so difficult to handle when he’s down blocking, and defensively he’s so difficult to handle, whether in the run game or the passing game. Unfortunately, the stats don’t just jump out at you, but really just a tremendous player that teams have a lot of trouble with.
“It doesn’t show up in the newspaper. It doesn’t show up in the boxscore, but if you ask any football coach who watches our games, they know the impact. When you turn on the film and see how physical he is, there’s nothing mellow about it.”
* Look in the mirror, SWR
Aggressive play calling. Dominant defense. Reliance on the run game.
It sounds like Shoreham, but the words above could also be used to describe Seaford, the Wildcats’ opponent in the Long Island Class IV final on Sunday at Stony Brook University.
Undefeated Seaford (11-0) won its second Nassau County title in seven years Saturday, defeating Carle Place-Wheatley, 20-0, at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium.
Like Shoreham’s Chris Gray, Seaford also has a standout runner in Danny Roell, who took off for 190 yards and two touchdowns Saturday. Neither team completed a pass in the game, according to Newsday.
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River coach Matt Millheiser and tight end/defensive end Ethan Wiederkehr. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)