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In thinking about the best way to harness Christian Wichman’s boundless energy, Columbus East football coach Bob Gaddis had to compare the assignments of a safety and an outside linebacker.
Wichman’s brother, Brian, was a do-everything safety for the Olympians up to his graduation after the 2012 season.
Christian Wichman, who played linebacker as a junior, was hoping to follow in his older brother’s footsteps by moving to safety.
But as the 2013 season unfolded, Gaddis inserted his 5-foot-7, 165-pound senior at outside linebacker, a position usually manned by much larger players.
“He is very physical, and he is a tenacious player,” Gaddis said. “We wanted to be able to turn him loose because he is very aggressive.”
But isn’t a safety all those things?
“A safety also has to be more patient,” Gaddis said.
If Wichman is in a hurry to make a play, it’s because he is counting down to the end of his high school football career. A starter on the East baseball team, Wichman is likely to pursue that sport in college.
Despite his nonstop energy and rough nature, Wichman proclaims that baseball is his No. 1 sport. That being said, he acknowledges that his peak emotional moments have come on a football field.
“I just had that conversation with coach Gaddis,” Wichman said about whether football or baseball is more fun. “Most of the time, I really don’t think about anything but baseball.
“But I do know that the crowd and the Friday night experience with football is something that you won’t get in any other sport. You also feel like you are doing something for your town.”
Wichman has done plenty for his team, as well, whether it be football or baseball. In football on defense, he uses his quickness to attack opposing ball carriers, often rerouting them back into the teeth of the defense.
Then there are those choice moments during the game when Gaddis moves him to offense, using him as a tailback or a slot. On Sept. 20 in a win against New Albany, Wichman touched the ball just seven times but rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
“He is a versatile, young man for his size,” Gaddis said. “And Christian brings a lot of energy to the game. He is very quick, and he is fast when he gets into the open field.”
Wichman said the No. 1-ranked 4A Olympians (6-0) might be able to go even farther than last season when they went 13-1 and won sectional and regional championships.
He said his teammates are more focused on game-by-game preparation, and he believes that eventually will help them toward their long-term goal of playing for a state championship.
To have a role in that lofty goal might be surprising for a kid who almost quit football in sixth grade.
“I don’t like losing at anything,” he said. “I was playing PAAL football, and I just wasn’t very good. BT (his brother Brian Tyler Wichman) kept me in the game.
“But I guess my parents (Brian and Cathy Wichman) wouldn’t let me quit anyway.”
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