For all or parts of the past four years, football players from Wilmington, Blanchester and East Clinton high schools have tried their best to stop Clinton-Massie’s Chayse Wolf.
Just a few weeks ago, many of those same football players were doing their best to help Wolf.
More than 100 football players from Clinton County, and several more from other schools, participated in a bench press fundraiser at The Strength Lab to benefit Wolf, a kid scores of players statewide have tried to bring down over the years.
“Football is like a family,” said CM head coach Dan McSurley. “Our kids are doing everything Blan’s kids are doing, Wilmington’s, East Clinton’s. We’re all out here trying to make ourselves better.”
Said Blanchester head coach Jack O’Rourke, “When you go through what we go through in two-a-days and everything else, the time you have to put in to play football, there’s a respect for everybody. Playing Clinton-Massie, playing East Clinton, playing Wilmington, or anybody in the general area, we have a lot of relatives, family (on the other side). So their kids are our family as much as anybody else’s. Other than when we play them, we root for them.”
Wolf is a 2015 CMHS graduate and a stand0ut on Clinton-Massie’s two state championship football teams. He signed to play football collegiately with Lindsey Wilson College, whose head coach coach is former Wilmington and Blanchester football player Chris Oliver. Under normal circumstances, Wolf right now would be sweating his way through pre-season practices with a football under his arm.
Instead, he’s sweating with the hope of simply walking again.
Wolf was involved in an all-terrain vehicle crash in July while on a rafting trip in West Virginia. He has undergone two spinal surgeries. He has been rehabilitating his injuries for a month in Atlanta, Ga. but is close to coming home.
“I really don’t know them, the Wolf family, but I have the utmost respect for them,” said EC coach Jeremy Yankey. “So when I heard what happened to Chayse and when Bryan (Doberdruk of The Strength Lab) told me what they were doing I was like ‘We’re in.’
“Whether they’re from East Clinton or Massie or wherever, you don’t wish what happened to Chayse on anybody.”
As a defensive coordinator at Clinton-Massie, Scott Killen spent many a day with Chayse and his brother Bayle sweating, grinding in the summer heat or the freezing cold during football season. And even now as the head coach of Wilmington, Killen has a special place in his heart for the Wolf family on and off the football field.
“This wasn’t about football,” said Killen. “This was about helping out a competitor, a kid my players have nothing but respect for. I taught Chayse in the eighth grade and coached him for three years. Also, knowing the Wolf family, they would … if it would have been reversed, the Wolfs would have jumped at (helping out). Just like Blanchester, and East Clinton and all, Waynesville. We just wanted to be part of it. My kids didn’t bat an eye. I had 100 percent participation. Some kids had to work but they all contributed.”
Even if Chayse Wolf is never able to walk again — the power of prayer will not likely allow that to happen — he brought together four rivals, if no more than for a few hours. He may also have a new vocation, if McSurley has anything to do with it.
“We’re hoping to get him back with the team,” said the long-time Falcons’ coach. “My goal is we want him back on the sidelines at all of our games this year. Not only would he be an inspiration, he can help coach … you know how many (coaches) I have, not many. So we want to use Chayse all the chances we can get.”