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Trib HS Insider Q&A: West Mifflin's Jimmy Wheeler

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
West Mifflin's James Wheeler breaks through a tackle attempt by Thomas Jefferson's Austin Boyd on a first-down run on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review

West Mifflin coach Ray Braszo's offense works best when he finds a star tailback. He usually does, and this year is no exception.

The aptly named Jimmy Wheeler has become a star for the Titans and is one of the WPIAL's most explosive players, with 1,856 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.

Q: Coach Braszo loves giving the ball to his tailbacks. Pretty good gig for you, right?

A: Yes, sir. I love having the ball in my hands, running the ball. Give me the ball 50 times a game. That's exactly what I like.

Q: Have you always been a running back?

A: Yes, ever since I started playing football when I was 8 years old. It was always the position I wanted to play when I was little and it still is now.

Q: Have you surprised yourself with this kind of a breakout performance?

A: Yeah, I actually have. I knew I wanted to have a big year, but I have surprised myself with what I've been able to do.

Q: You receive a bulk of carries. Do you ever get tired during games?

A: No, I really don't. It helps that I don't play on defense, so you can definitely get a little bit of a rest when you've got that going for you. But also, I've got so much adrenaline pumping through me when I'm playing that I really have never gotten tired during a game.

Q: We all know you're good, but your offensive line is pretty good too, right?

A: Most definitely. They're just big and they're strong. And they get so much better every week. Running behind them is good, very good.

Q: Is there a misperception that you guys don't have a very big playbook?

A: Yeah. We actually have a ton of plays that we work on. We have so many different running plays. But the thing with us is, when Coach Braszo sees a play that's working, he's just going to keep running it over and over again. That's just what we do.

Q: Have you guys recovered yet from the loss against TJ in Week 9?

A: It was a little bit hard to deal with. We really wanted to beat them, so bad. I don't even know what to say about it because it really did hurt. But that's OK. We know we're going to see them again, this time at Heinz Field.

Q: What do you expect from Mars this week in the quarterfinals?

A: We know they're very good. Honestly, all of Triple-A is just so tough. You look all through the teams in the playoffs and you see nothing but good teams.

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