Lytton's Season for the Ages
Here’s what sticks with you about Brenden Lytton after he has stiffed-armed, pounded and raced his way to another 200-yard night in what is closing in on becoming a 2,000-yard plus season for the record books and the ages.
It’s no big deal.
That’s Lytton talking. Not opponents, fans, media and any other folks that have witnessed Torrington High’s sensational 5-foot-9, 175 pound junior running back turn the NVL upside down, rewrite the Red Raider record book and burst on to the state scene with a record-setting nine touchdown effort in a win over Wilby.
“I’ve been working real hard but I never pictured this happening,” is about all you will get out of Lytton.
Ask him about the nine TD performance against Wilby and you hear this – “It’s done and over. It’s a great accomplishment and now you move on or you will never get better.”
No hand stands or cartwheels, no it’s been unbelievable comments, no mention of his recent appearance on Channel 3’s high school sports show, no shoe horn to get his head through the locker room door which would be understandable based on the numbers – (1,885 yards, six games over 200 yards, one game over 300 yards).
Another indication of how good of a season has it been came Friday night in the Raiders 42-27 loss to Sacred Heart. Most will tell you the Hearts did a good job on Lytton. He finished with 246 yards and three TDs on 39 carries. The Hearts did do a good job, the totals tell you of Lytton’s superb season.
Lytton knows it is all good. He knows what is happening. He just doesn’t feel like he needs to get lost in the brilliance he has produced or dwell on it. Last week is yesterday and next week is tomorrow. He is in to looking forward.
“Brenden has a really good head on his shoulder,” said Torrington coach Dan Dunaj. “He has gotten a lot of press and everything but he always mentions the team and the offensive line. I’m sure he feels something special is happening but it is always about the team.”
Lytton’s season demands attention, the story behind the season makes it a performance to wrap your arms and memory around for years to come. This isn’t about a maturing running back suddenly gone wild. Instead, Lytton instead has exploded on the scene coming from the nation of nowhere in a sense.
Lytton returned punts and was a punter a season ago and spent most of the time on the sideline with bad back. He started this season as a receiver. Not only wasn’t he expected to run for big yardage, he wasn’t expected to run for any yardage.
Then fate stepped in. The Raiders’ main weapon Zack Schebell broke his jaw and Lytton went to tailback and won the job. That was almost 2,000 yards ago.
“It was my time to step in,” said Lytton.
He has stepped, danced, bulldozed, sprinted down the field since then. It took exactly one game for both Dunaj and Lytton to see that something special could be in the works.
“After the first game against East Lyme when he ran for over 200 yards we saw something,” said Dunaj. “We knew it wasn’t just because of the offensive line. He makes things happen. When given the opportunity he makes someone miss.”
Dunaj still thinks in a season of outstanding runs the best one came in that opening victory over East Lyme.
“The TD burst he had about 21 yards to go and was stuck in the backfield. He bounced it outside, stiff-armed the first kid and beat the second defender with a great angle.”
It may have been the best run, but it was just the beginning. Lytton has proved to be a combination of strength and speed making for an elusive target if you have to bring him down.
“He has a great burst and accelerates very fast,” said Dunaj. “When he is through the line, he gets two or three steps. He is also very aggressive, he doesn’t shy away from contact.”
Lytton’s 30-40 carries a game reflects his ability to go both through and around opponents. Up the middle, right side of the line, left side of the line or sweeps, they are all part of the package.
“Whatever I need to use (power, speed), I use it,” says Lytton who sees his speed as his greatest asset. “When I get to the second level my breakaway speed gets me there.”
Opposing coaches have consistently how hard or near impossible it is to arm tackle Lytton and how many yards he gains on second effort.
It is all enough to take a physical and mental toll on even the toughest of the tough. Yet, Lytton seems untouched by it all. On the physical side he confesses to nothing more that being tired the next day.
“(The number of carries) doesn’t bother me,” he said without mentioning that he also plays defense and kicks and punts. “I’m sore the next day but that’s it.”
On an individual basis this season could end now and be All-State caliber. Lytton doesn’t make a big deal of the numbers but would like to keep rolling up the yardage to get in the top 10 all-time in the state for one season (2,200 yards).
As for next season – bigger and even better he is hoping.
But this year is still fresh, there are still yards to run. Brenden Lytton knows the numbers but he is more interested in creating the statistics then broadcasting them.
Perfect. The numbers speak for themselves and what they say is delightfully obvious. His is a season for the ages that won’t disappear with the last game.
Some have great years. Lytton is having a year to be remembered. It is the sign of greatness.