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Werner catching on at Pennington School

Bryce Werner was an All-Catholic receiver at Ryan last year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Bryce Werner isn’t chasing comfortability.

He’s chasing a dream.

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Werner just finished his junior year at Archbishop Ryan High School, and things couldn’t have gone much better.

After transferring from La Salle after his sophomore year, Werner got to Ryan and immediately became a starting wide receiver, and a great one at that.

The Parkwood resident loved how close the school was to him, and that was just the start of things he loved.

“I built great friendships at La Salle, and a lot at Ryan, I really loved Ryan,” Werner said. “Everything. I got an opportunity there and killed it. We had a good year playing against some great teams. I killed it academically and really had fun there. It was great in every way, it was home for me.”

But it is now a former home. 

Werner has enrolled at Pennington School where he will reclassify as a junior. 

It’s not an easy move for him, but one that could pay dividends.

And one that could put Werner in position to accomplish his goal.

“I love it so far, I’ve been working out with them since I announced I was going there, and I’ve even played a game with the basketball team,” said Werner, who is best known for what he does on the football field, but he considers himself a basketball player just as much. “The ability to reclassify and play two more years should help me a lot. I’m still young. My goal is to put myself in the best position to succeed and this does that. It wasn’t an easy decision at all, I loved Ryan. I’ll miss all the friends I made there and the relationships.”

Werner has been building relationships through sports his entire life.

And he had two great role models to set the path for him.

His oldest brother Brett was a star goalie at La Salle before going on to play for La Salle University.

His other brother Brendan played soccer at Philadelphia Academy Charter and like Brett, played goalie in college, though he played at Penn State Abington.

The youngest brother gave soccer a try, but decided to give the other fall sport a go and immediately fell in love.

“Realistically, I’m not really sure why I (gravitated) toward football,” Werner said. “I think I saw both of my brothers playing soccer and they both fell in love with it. Brett was amazing at soccer, and I saw him creating his own path and I didn’t want to follow, I wanted to start my own. I started playing football and I fell in love with it like he loved soccer.

“I’m really close with my brothers, they’ve always helped me a lot. I follow them in a lot of things, but I decided football was for me, not soccer. We all love basketball, too.”

Now he’s doing the same thing at Pennington.

The school is based out of Mercer County not too far from the Bucks County border.

The Bluejays had a strong season last year, losing just two games in a schedule made up mostly of teams from Southeastern Pennsylvania and South and Central Jersey including Academy of the New Church, Bristol and Morrisville.

They should be even better with their new top wideout.

Last year, while playing for Ryan, which finished 2-8, Werner was one of the top receivers in the league. He caught 44 balls for 554 yards and six touchdowns. He also scored another on an interception return.

While nothing is set in stone and he’s willing to do whatever is needed, he believes he’ll have a similar role at Pennington.

“I’m open to playing wherever, but I feel like my skill set is best at wide receiver,” said Werner, 17, who recently represented Team USA on a U20 team competing in the International Federation of American Football in Edmonton. “I think me and coach (Mike Watkins) know that, so I think I’ll play there, I’ll also play safety as well. But I’m happy to do whatever it takes.”

He also hopes he gets some run with the Blue Jays basketball team. 

“I definitely want to be a basketball player, too,” Werner said. “A lot of people don’t think I am, but I believe I’m just as much a basketball player. I feel like I can make an impact. The hardest question, I get it a lot, do I like football or basketball better. It’s impossible. I’ve played basketball since I was little. I love it. They both have a special place in my heart.”

He now has the opportunity to make an impact as soon as he gets to Pennington. He has two years to show the world what he can do. After that, the goal is to keep taking another step until he reaches the highest level he can.

He hopes that’s playing professionally, and he plans on working to make that dream come true. But he’s also going to work hard in the classroom.

Either way, he’s a product of hard work.

“The biggest thing is working hard,” Werner said. “Especially true for kids and parents, I was always overlooked from a young age. Even now. But I want people to know, you have to put your effort and love into something and nothing can stop you. That’s what happened with me. 

“I was the smallest, I was chubby and I fell in love with working out. It took one opportunity, and Ryan gave it to me. Very first game I had 150 yards and two touchdowns. 

“I just want kids to know it’s definitely possible. Always bet on yourself. That’s what is helping me do this.”

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