Devian Wilson hitting playoff stride for the Bearcats

By T. Scott Boatright

Senior fullback Devian Wilson sees his role in Ruston High School’s triple option offensive attack in a twofold manner.

The play is called the triple option as the fullback dive is the first option, the quarterback (junior Jaden Osborne in Ruston’s case) keeping the ball is the second option, and the quarterback pitching to the halfback (Dyson Fields) is the third option.

But any of those options gives Wilson a chance to do what he feels is one of his primary roles for the Bearcats.

“I like to hit,” Wilson said. “I do — and take — all the pounding, depending if I’m blocking and giving or running and taking. Either way, I’m the workhorse. I’m going to do the tough stuff, and I’m going to get it done.”

And that mindset leads to what Wilson feels is his other primary role for the Bearcats. 

“I try to get the team fired up,” Wilson said. “That’s my job — to get the team fired up so we come out and play how we need to.”

Bearcats coach Jerrod Baugh offered his description of the role he feels makes Wilson so important for the Bearcats.

“For what we do on offense, the better he does at fullback in the triple option along with the power counter game, is a big deal,” Baugh said. “All of that stuff complements each other so well. And if you can find one guy who can do all that entails really well, it lends itself to making a team as good offensively as we’ve been.

“Through 20 years of coaching you might find a guy who’s really good at the triple option but not as good as the power counter, or you’ll find one the other way with opposite strengths. But Devian is as good as anyone I’ve ever coached as far as being able to do both.”

Wilson showed that last Friday during the Bearcats’ 56-16 second round Class 5A playoff win over Benton as he rushed for 81 yards and three scores, caught an eight-yard pass and opened holes with his blocking to allow to rush for a combined 321 yards.

Strength plays a key role in Wilson’s game.

“He’s really explosive,” Baugh said. “He’s always been strong. When he was a freshman we moved him up and he got to play in some playoff games for us even as a freshman. Even then as a freshman he was at the strongest, heaviest rack in the weight room. He’s always been naturally strong, but his explosiveness is that makes him so good coming out of a three-point stance in the triple option stuff, where the faster you get to the offensive line, the more opportunity you have to get the ball because if you’re not blocking some guys at that point and have to run past them.

While he loves hitting, Wilson is much more than only a pounder for the Bearcats.

“He’s a really smart football player, too,” Baugh said. “We shuffle him around when we’re in the shotgun and he’s playing wing. He’s a really good receiver out of the backfield. We run little counter passes to him with him out in the flats. Late in the season we’ve split him out and done some different things with him.”

Wilson has fought through breaking both feet at different points as well as a leg, yet has always returned to continue making an impact for the Bearcats.

“Devian has missed significant playing the last two seasons because of injuries, and that’s hard for a young player,” Baugh said. “This time last year in the playoffs we knew he had reinjured his fire but didn’t realize it was broken. They didn’t see it on the original scan and he had it looked at again after the season and they realized it had actually been broken for the last two or three weeks of the football season.

“I think that obviously earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. His leadership skills have gotten a lot better. Anytime a kid has gone through those things — those injuries — and pushes him way through them and always comes back to lead his teammates in the right direction, kids are drawn to that.”

Wilson credits his teammates for making that happen.

“Because of them — I do it for my teammates,” Wilson said of his perseverance through multiple injuries in recent years. “They keep me going, and I keep them going.”

Now the Bearcats are keeping each going by getting ready to travel to play Friday’s third-round playoff game at Destrehan, the team that defeated them in Ruston in the third round of last year’s playoffs.

“I remember,” Wilson said of that loss last year. “We all remember. We could have won that game —should have won that game. That has me fired up and ready to play. We’re ready to show them what Ruston is really about.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Reggie McLeroy

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