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Chalker's unsung heroes of 2013

November 5, 2013
By MATT WAGNER - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

Looking at the Chalker Wildcats' roster, Chris Warnick's defined position is somewhat of a misnomer.

Sure, the 5-foot-8, 160-pound senior has seen playing time at his listed positions of fullback on offense and linebacker on defense during the season, but he does so much more. Warnick's a utility man, playing almost every spot on both sides of the ball for the playoff-bound Wildcats, who face Norwalk St. Paul on Saturday.

In fact, the only places Warnick won't line up are at quarterback and anywhere in the secondary, according to his coach, Ryan Slone.

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"I just go where they tell me to go," Warnick said. "I pretty much know every position, so I just try to get better at them all. Definitely got to keep an open mind as to where you're going to go - you kind of just go with it."

Warnick's laid-back attitude when it comes to where he plays on the field hasn't escaped his coach's attention, as Slone labeled the utility man as an integral part of the team.

"Chris Warnick is a workhorse for us," Slone said. "Whatever position where we may be injured or hurt, he's playing it. He doesn't care where he plays. He's going out and I know whatever position he's going to be in, he's going to play his best to help us win a football game."

With all the switching he does on the field, things could get confusing for most players, but the senior said he has no problem taking a handoff on one play and then trying to bust open a hole for another running back the next play at tackle or guard.

Warnick said he knows the entire playbook for every single position, which allows him to switch seamlessly in games.

"Actually, not a lot (of time)," Warnick said of how long it took to learn the playbook. "Football is a natural sport to me. I've played since I was little, so I can pick up real easy on it."

Along with Warnick, Slone pointed to junior Tyler Regal-Sullivan as another one who doesn't get noticed much but has played an important role in the team's success this season. Regal-Sullivan has been a mainstay on the offensive and defensive lines.

"He's a lineman - offensive and defensive - and sometimes those guys don't get the press they deserve," Slone said. "Tyler's had a great year, helping lead this offensive line and defensive line."

Whether or not most people notice Regal-Sullivan's work, opposing teams certainly do.

Slone used last week's 28-21 loss to Pymatuning Valley as an example, when Regal-Sullivan proved to be such a nuisance on the defensive line that the Lakers decided to run away from him after some time.

"I think it's an ultimate sign of respect," Regal-Sullivan said. "That just means they recognize that they can't go to my side."

These two players have helped lead Chalker to just its second playoff appearance in school history and the first one since 2001. Both Regal-Sullivan and Warnick said the enormity of that fact hasn't escaped them.

"It feels great," Regal-Sullivan said. "It's pretty nice to be one of the few very teams from our school to have (made the playoffs), pretty happy to be a part of it."