Janesville25.5°

It’s a lock: Elks’ backs confuse coaches, foes

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Tim Wester
October 22, 2007
— Having talented running backs Alex Lockwood and Ethan Lockhart at his disposal is practically an embarrassment of riches for Elkhorn High football coach Dean Wilson.

Failing to get the names Lockwood and Lockhart straight can be just as embarrassing.


“Are you kidding me? Having the names Lockwood and Lockhart in the same backfield, forget it, it’s impossible,” Wilson said.


Mistaking their identity is something that both players find humorous.


“Coach (Ross) Gayhart is one of the worst offenders,” Lockwood said. “When he yells ‘Hey Lockhart’ at me, I just stand there and say I’m not doing anything until you call me Lockwood.”


Lockhart added, “There are times when coaches yell Lock and we both look, and then there are times when they yell Ethan and our center Ethan Cook thinks they’re talking to him.”


While getting their names straight is daunting, trying to tackle them has been an even bigger chore this season.


The speedy senior Lockwood and the powerful junior Lockhart provide a running combination that has led Elkhorn (8-1, 5-1) to a share of the Southern Lakes Conference title with Milton and a WIAA division 2 playoff matchup with DeForest on Tuesday night.


Wilson has seven Lakes titles as the Elks’ head coach. This season, however, it took Wilson longer than usual to find the right running back combination to lead him to his seventh title.


“The first three or four weeks of football practice, Shaun Banta and Eric Kujawa were the two best running backs,” Wilson said. “At that point, Lockhart and Lockwood were going to see time in the backfield, but they weren’t the main guys. Banta and Kujawa were even our starters for the first game.”


While Wilson was content with Banta and Kujawa, the physical tools of Lockhart and Lockwood forced the veteran coach to change his starting backfield.


“Lockhart is very elusive up the middle and has very quick feet, so when we run traps up the middle he makes people miss and does not go down on the first hit,” Wilson said. “Lockwood is just pure speed, and he has more determination this year than last.”


From that point forward, the talented duo hasn’t missed a beat racking up 1,655 yards and 19 touchdowns.


Wilson’s decision changed the Elks season, but both Lockwood and Lockhart point to D.J. Krueger’s 60-yard game-winning touchdown pass in their 21-20 upset victory over Monona Grove as the highlight of their season.


On that play, quarterback Eric Bryson threw a lateral to tight end Krueger, who then threw a second pass 60 yards into the diving hands of wide receiver Drew White.


“Before the play I saw Krueger taking his gloves off, and I just laughed to myself thinking that we had only practiced this a couple times and the coaches have the guts do this,” Lockhart said. “It was humorous at first, and then it got real emotional anticipating the play, and then it works and you stand there in awe.”


Unfortunately for Lockhart and Lockwood, a few weeks later, Milton’s impressive 49-7 victory over the Elks also left them in awe of the Red Hawks.


“Milton taught us that we’re not invincible, and if we don’t come to play every game with emotion, then we don’t stand a chance because we aren’t that big,” Lockwood said.


This valuable lesson will come in handy Tuesday when the Elks host Badger North Conference runner-up DeForest (8-1, 5-1).


“They are just going to try to pound it at us, and coach Wilson says they’re very aggressive on defense,” Lockwood said.


Opponents aside, both Lockwood and Lockhart are poised to confuse their coaches and frustrate the opposing defenses a while longer.



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