There was a time Ryan Wreath could get by on size.
Then he got to high school.
Wreath was a four-year starter on the Penn Charter High School football team, and once again, he is one of the bigger guys on the field, but when he first became a Quaker, he was slightly undersized. It was a huge change for him.
“When I got here as a freshman, I was playing tackle, and it was a pretty big difference because I was 15 years old and I was going up against 18-year-old men, it was a lot different,” said Wreath, who lives in Chalfont and attended Our Lady of Calvary, where he played football. “In grade school, I was the biggest kid, then you get to high school and it’s completely different. It’s a lot harder.
“I started at tackle my freshman year, then I moved to center and I played that the last three years. It was a lot different, you definitely get better as you get older. But it was good I got the experience as a freshman. I think it made me better.”
This year, for two games, he was the big man on campus, and he had a great season. Sadly, it lasted only two games.
The Inter-Ac decided late in the game to play fall sports, and the Quakers completed only two of their four-game schedule before it was decided to shut it down again because of coronavirus concerns.
Wreath and his teammates lost their first game to Episcopal Academy, but then rebounded to knock off Germantown Academy 22-21 in a back-and-forth game that saw the Quakers block a field goal at the end of the game to earn the victory.
It was the 134th time the two schools squared off, making it the longest, continuously played high school series in the United States. Penn Charter has dominated the series, going 86-37-11 against their Inter-Ac rivals.
“It was a great game, it’s funny because usually Germantown Academy is our last game, and it wasn’t supposed to be, but it turned out it was,” Wreath said. “What a way to go out. You want to win but you really want to beat them. They’re a good team. We ran it down their throat a lot of the game, so it felt good to go out that way.
“It was hard to only play two games, but then you have to think it’s great you got to play two games. We wanted to have a full season, but for a long time, we didn’t think we were going to have a season, so two games is a lot better than not playing. And both games were fun.”
Both are very important for Wreath, who wants to continue playing football next year.
Any college that gets him will get a true warrior who can pass and run block with the best of them. They’ll also get a guy who is never afraid to put in a little extra work.
“It’s funny because this year, I worked out really hard,” Wreath said. “There was nothing else to do, so I would work out twice a day. Even now, I live in Philly, and gyms are closed, but I live a few blocks away from Bensalem, so I go to the gym there. I’m lifting a lot, usually four or five days a week.
“I definitely want to play college football, that’s the plan. I’ve had some talks with Division II and III schools, but my dream has always been to go Division I, so I want to see if I can do that. I definitely want to go to school.”
He plans to hit the books as hard as he hits the defensive linemen.
“I definitely want to do something in business, either finance or accounting, something in that field,” Wreath said. “I’m a numbers guy more than a books guy. But going to Penn Charter, you’re really prepared. This school really gets you ready for college.”
He’ll spend the next few months preparing for college, both mentally and physically.
He wants to continue to get good grades while doing his part in the weight room. He usually plays basketball, but it doesn’t look like that will be possible this year, at least not in the immediate future.
“Growing up, I liked basketball more than football, I just loved it,” said Wreath, who played underneath the net. “But then I kept getting bigger and I knew my future was going to be in football. But I think playing basketball made me a better football player. It definitely helps with agility and footwork.”
It also helps that he has the right attitude for football.
As a person, Wreath’s nature is to be a nice person. But once he steps on the field, it’s a different story.
“I think the biggest thing is off the field, I’m nice and the most respectful person around,” Wreath said. “But between the lines, I’m mean. I play hard. It’s not who I am off the field, but on it, I try my hardest. And I’m mean on the field.”
But no matter how mean he is, he’ll always have a smile on his face when he remembers playing football at Penn Charter.
“It was the best,” Wreath said. “I’m so glad we had two games to play. The last one was definitely the best. My best game and the best to win. It means a lot to beat them, and it was fun. Great way to go out.”