Prep Football

Munster's Wilkinson knows Mustang football is a family affair

2013-10-31T18:00:00Z 2013-12-05T20:31:48Z Munster's Wilkinson knows Mustang football is a family affairSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
October 31, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

When Kyle Wilkinson arrived at Munster four years ago, he didn't have a ton of nerves about playing football for coach Leroy Marsh.

He'd been there before. Generationally.

His father, Jim, was a defensive lineman for Marsh when photographs were black and white and jeans rang a bell. Kyle's older brother, Ryan, played for Marsh a few years back.

No, the twigs don't fall far from the tree.

It's like a cozy foursome in red. Fore!

"I knew from my brother that (Marsh) was a great coach, a great guy," Kyle Wilkinson said. "It was some positive insight going into my freshman year. My dad didn't tell me too many stories, but he had a few."

Ryan was a baseball player and The Times Player of the Year in 2010. The baseball-football combo is usual. His little brother, Kyle, is rare. He is a golfer in the spring.

The offensive lineman, who is very tough in a mega emotion game, can calmly stand in the tee box and play a game a 75-year-old can.

"Playing both sports makes you bounce back and deal with certain situations better," Wilkinson said. "They both feed off of each other. It's mostly mental. Missing an assignment in football is tougher. In golf you get so many shots to make up for one bad one."

Tonight Munster (6-3) travels to play Michigan City (2-7) in the new Class 5A Sectional 9 opener for both teams. The Mustangs, for the first time in many years, will not be competing against schools twice their size.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Wilkinson and his teammates have a big game to overcome.

"Kyle is by far our leader up front," Marsh said. "He's not one of the biggest and strongest, but he is one of the toughest we've had. Our O- line has done a great job. We've gotten a lot of yards rushing the ball this year.

"Michigan City's offensive speed and skill is dangerous. When they have the ball they worry me a lot. I compare them to West Side. They have some outstanding receivers and a big quarterback with a strong arm."

Like the No.1 golfer hitting tee shots into the woods in a round, Munster's football team has had a similar situation due to injuries. Wilkinson answers the mantra with a hard point.

"We've had a good season but we've had some people out with injuries," Wilkinson said. "The 'next man up' has played a big part in our success. The bye week has helped us get healthier.

"All we can do is focus on the first week. We have to be concerned with us and not Michigan City. We need to play consistent throughout the game, just like we have most of this season."

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