Sissonville’s Wyatt Ervin has tried to put his best foot forward through what has been a hectic autumn workload.
That foot has proved to be crucial to the success of two different Indians programs.
Ervin is pulling double duty for a second straight year, serving as the kicker and punter on the football team while also playing forward for a surging Sissonville boys soccer team currently carrying a 13-4-1 record.
Though kicking double duty is not unheard of, Ervin is excelling at a pretty high level on both sides. The senior’s 31 goals and 30 assists through 18 games rank second in both categories in the Kanawha Valley only to sophomore teammate Jaxson Haynes (33 goals, 32 assists). That tandem has caused opponents fits and boys soccer coach James Swain said the two have formed quite a rapport at the front of the Indians’ attack.
“Wyatt has been more of a well-rounded player because of Jaxson,” Swain said. “One game he will have three or four assists and the next game he’ll score and Jaxson will have three or four assists. They’re not selfish and they’ve formed a pretty good duo.”
“We have a little friendly competition to see who can get more in a game,” Ervin added. “We play as a team obviously, but we’re trying to do that within a game too.”
The football-soccer combination has created some long fall days for Ervin. His routine usually consists of between an hour and two hours of football kicking practice right after school followed by soccer practice or a game thereafter.
“I’m doin’ it all,” Ervin said.
Indeed. Ervin has also added a dependable weapon for Sissonville’s offense in football, where he has hit three field goals (24, 29 and 40 yards) and 20 extra points. But maybe more than countable statistics, Ervin has provided a weapon in the punting game, helping the Indians in the always-important, field-position battle.
“We always felt like he could kick field goals if we needed him to,” football coach Marc Wilson said. “Where he’s made the most improvement is in the punting game. He’s averaging around 35 yards a punt, which isn’t fantastic, but the hang time he’s getting on those has been great. People just haven’t been able to return punts against us at all this year.”
Ervin’s older brother Dalton, who graduated in 2018, also pulled double duty for Sissonville as a senior. After taking his freshman and sophomore years off from the gridiron, Ervin decided to come back a year ago.
“My junior year, I decided to come back out,” Ervin said. “My brother did it his senior year and he really enjoyed it, so I thought, ‘Why not?’
“Scoring a goal in soccer is really exciting and when I kick a field goal, it feels like nothing else.”
The Indians football team is in the thick of the playoff race and came in at No. 16 in last week’s West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission ratings with a 4-2 record.
Being a contender is nothing new for the school’s football team, but the soccer team is entering some rather rarefied air, at least in Ervin’s time with the team.
The Indians went 6-8-2 a year ago and 9-9-1 two years ago. No Sissonville player topped Ervin’s 17 goals last season, but already with 64 goals and 62 assists between he and Haynes, the potent Indians offense has helped add the team to a big list of contenders in a crowded Class AA-A Region 4.
“You look at Winfield High School [defending state champions] and that’s the bar, that’s what everybody wants to be,” Swain said. “We’re making strides. I think a lot of it is getting it out of the kids’ minds that it’s Winfield. It’s kind of the same thing when you’re looking at GW historically. You’ve just got to get it out of your minds and play soccer.”
The West Virginia High School Soccer Coaches Association releases rankings with all schools regardless of class under the same umbrella. Currently the Generals are fourth behind only Charleston Catholic, George Washington and Wheeling Park. The Indians rank 20th with Scott (sixth) and Point Pleasant (14th) also in the top 20.
It is believed that the Indians have never made a state tournament as a boys soccer program and Swain could cite just one team that got out of sectionals, all the way back in 1997.
With Winfield and Scott in Section 2 and the Indians in Section 1, Sissonville has an opportunity and its one that Ervin said he is focused on as the regular season winds down.
“I feel like we can go further than Sissonville has gone in a long time,” Ervin said. “We have a good team and a good coach. We just need to work hard in practice and even harder in games.”