A little more than 10 years ago, Wesley Woodard won a championship.
Woodyard was a senior linebacker on the LaGrange High team that beat the Peach County Trojans to capture the state title in December of 2003.
In two weeks, Woodyard will be playing for another championship, although this time the stage will be just a bit larger.
In 2003, the state was watching as the Grangers traveled to Fort Valley and knocked off the Peach County Trojans to claim the Class AAA title.
On Feb. 2, Woodyard will once again be playing for a championship, and this time the whole world will be watching.
Woodyard and the Denver Broncos, who beat the New England Patriots 26-16 on Sunday in the AFC championship game, will face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
Woodyard has been with the Broncos since 2008, and this will be his first appearance in the Super Bowl, and it’s the first time the franchise has made it this far since 1999 when John Elway led the team past the Falcons.
While quarterback Peyton Manning got a lot of the credit for Sunday’s victory after throwing for more than 400 yards, Woodyard and the Denver defense did its part.
Tom Brady and a New England offense that has been putting up big numbers this season was held to 16 points on Sunday.
Woodyard, who is part of the linebacker rotation for the Broncos, had a pair of tackles and did a nice job in pass coverage.
The 27-year-old Woodyard joined the Broncos in 2008 as an undrafted free agent after a splendid career at Kentucky, and he has been a huge part of the team ever since.
Woodyard has been a team captain every year he has been with the team, and his role has increased over the years.
Woodyard became a full-time starter for the first time in 2012, and he was a starter for much of this season as well.
Late in the season Woodyard wasn’t starting, but he continued to be a team leader.
“Regardless of anything that goes on, my job is to continue to lead my defense and to continue to lead my teammates - give guys good advice out there,” Woodyard said last week.
Despite missing two games with injuries, and the limited playing time late in the season, Woodyard was still second on the team in the regular season with 83 tackles.
The man who led the Broncos in tackles, former Kentucky Wildcat Danny Trevathan, said Woodyard makes a great impact whether he’s playing or not.
“Having that guy out there – he has really been a great role model in my life, talking to me, helping me get it together,” Trevathan said. “Even though he’s not on the field, he’s with me in my head all the time. That’s how I’m going to carry him.”