Valley News Dispatch Q&A: Burrell's Ryan Sowol
TribLIVE Sports Videos
For the second straight year, the bulk of Burrell's offensive production has become the responsibility of one very busy ball carrier.
Junior Ryan Sowol is the successor to 2012 standout Cole Bush, who finished the regular season with 1,794 yards and 33 touchdowns. Burrell trusted Bush to carry the ball 230 times in 10 games.
Sowol (6-foot, 185 pounds) has shouldered a similar workload, particularly in the last few weeks. A week ago, he carried the ball 46 times for 175 yards in a loss to East Allegheny.
He entered the season expecting to share carries with senior running back Mitch Pollino, but Pollino suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 1, so Sowol became the de facto feature back.
Sowol, who also plays baseball and wrestled for the first time last winter, has gained 893 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 186 carries this season — no other player has more than 123 rushing yards. He also starts at outside linebacker, where he's made a team-high 31 tackles.
Q: Coming into this season, did you expect to get the ball 30-plus times a game?
A: I had no idea that that would happen. Our whole offense changed after we lost Cole (Bush). We were ground-and-pound, but then this year, we wanted to try to spread it out a little bit. But obviously we kind of have gotten away from that, and now we're grounding and pounding it with me.
Q: When did that shift in strategy happen?
A: I'd have to say it was after that Valley week (Week 2) that we kind of changed our offense a little bit and decided we'd do what we did before and see what happens.
Q: How did Pollino's injury affect your role, even before the team changed its offensive strategy?
A: That kind of put more of the weight on my shoulders for me to carry the load at the tailback spot. … I was pretty excited, because it's always nice to be the guy, where you know you're getting the ball. But Mitch getting hurt was a terrible loss for us, because he's a great player and we could've used him this year.
Q: Did you have worry about taking over the role that Cole had last year?
A: Yeah, I was a little nervous, because obviously filling Cole's shoes, he was one of the best football players in Burrell history. But everything has kind of settled down, and I'm comfortable with everything that's happening.
Q: You started wrestling a year ago with no prior experience. Why?
A: Derrick Beattie got injured in football season last year, so they needed a 170-pounder. I figured I'd try it out and see what happens. … I have a lot of friends that wrestle, and everyone kept nagging me to try it. They said it'd be a lot of fun, and I have to say, it was a lot of fun.
Q: How did wrestling shape you as an athlete?
A: The practices are definitely grueling. It's definitely one of the toughest sports I've ever played — probably the toughest. And I'm probably in better shape for football this year because of all the workouts.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WPIAL hands out suspensions for Wilkinsburg-Monessen fight
- Tickets aplenty for Ringgold-BVA game
- Southmoreland plays Burgettstown in big game
- Decision on football fracas expected today
- Southmoreland varsity gridders helping midget football teams
- Quaker Valley football coach emphasizes need to close out games
- Gators hope to shake off tough loss to Tigers
- Late touchdowns seal Southmoreland’s fate against Derry
- Penalties, turnovers doom Foxes in quest for 1st victory
- Bentworth’s Hughes named Player of Week
- Monessen, Wilkinsburg await WPIAL ruling