A loud roar comes from the crowd as Nick Singleton breaks into the clear on his way to another touchdown, sending chills run up and down Clay Reynolds’ spine.
Who is Clay Reynolds?
He’s one of the anonymous offensive linemen who opens the holes that has Singleton on the verge of setting the Berks County all-time rushing record.
Singleton heads into Friday night’s non-league game at Cocalico needing 88 yards to surpass the mark of 4,778 rushing yards set by former Hamburg and Wilson running back Iggy Reynoso. Singleton, who has rushed for 424 yards in two games this season, set the Berks career touchdown record with his 80th last week in a win over backyard rival Wilson.
While Reynolds and his fellow offensive linemen take pride in helping Singleton reach those records, Reynolds knows few people will remember him when they see Singleton’s name in the record book.
“That’s kind of in the job description,” said Reynolds, the Mustangs’ left guard. “We chose this position knowing that we’d be helping Nick get to his goals. We’re very proud to do that and we know that he appreciates everything we do for him.”
The Gov. Mifflin at Cocalico is one of the highlights of Week 3 of the high school football season that includes 12 Friday night games involving Berks teams. The only matchup of Berks teams has Wilson traveling to Reiffton to face Exeter for the first time in 14 years.
On Saturday, Wyomissing will play its home opener against Boyertown at 1:30 p.m. in the Spartans’ first home game since last year’s PIAA Class 3A semifinal win over Danville.
Most eyes will be on Singleton and Mustangs (2-0) when they play Cocalico (1-1) in Denver. The last time the Mustangs played at Cocalico, Singleton was held to 21 yards on 13 carries in a 42-14 District 3 playoff loss two years ago.
Gov. Mifflin also lost to the Eagles during the regular season that year. The teams did not meet in 2020 during the coronavirus-shortened season.
Cocalico opened this season with a win over Conrad Weiser before losing to Cedar Cliff 33-27 in Week 2.
“It gives us a little chip on our shoulder for this game coming up and we’re ready,” said Mifflin senior left tackle Nate Goodman.
Goodman played tight end last season and is the only returning offensive lineman from last year’s Gov. Mifflin team that went 7-1, won the District 3 Class 5A title and advanced to the PIAA semifinals.
In two games, the offensive line has answered any questions people may have had about how strong the Mustangs would be up front after the graduation loss of five seniors.
Head coach Jeff Lang and offensive line coach Nick Morrissey spent much of the offseason preparing the linemen to step on the big stage that gives very few credits.
“We’ve been really working with them relentlessly since the winter,” Lang said. “We knew coming in this was the part we really had to get straightened out. I think it’s really paid off for us.”
The starting line consists of tight end Aiden Young, Goodman, Reynolds, center Jacob Lopez, right guard Jose Landrom and right tackle Jonah Naugle.
You may never see their names in the record book, but they get satisfaction knowing their work is noticed by the people who matter.
“I’ve been playing with NIck my whole life so this is actually insane that he’s breaking all these records,” Lopez said. “I’m happy for him.
“At the end of the day he always gives us our credit, the linemen blocking for him. He still shows love that we block for him.”
Opening the holes for Singleton to get into the open field and do his thing is something Goodman said he will remember long after this season is over and Singleton is playing at Penn State.
“I think it’s cool just to block for him and say that you blocked for a guy who’s accomplished all these things,” Goodman said. “It makes the game a lot of fun and makes you enjoy your job a little bit more.”
And for others, there’s the instant gratification of hearing the crowd cheer and the announcer say “Nick Singleton” after of of the senior running back’s trademark long touchdown runs.
“Once Nick gets a couple of yards he tends to break it and get a lot more,” Reynolds said. “It’s very exciting. You’ll just hear the roar of the crowd and then you’ll see him running down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown.”
Source: Berkshire mont