By Paul Condry and Matt Kopsea
Kyle Turanchick has done an outstanding job of carrying on the family tradition at Oak Hill.
His father, 1984 graduate Curt Turanchick, played running back and was a member of the 1982 Class 1A state championship squad.
Later, his brother, 2016 alum Josh Turanchick, was a standout linebacker for the Golden Eagles.
Now, the 6-foot, 185-pound senior back is creating his own legacy by recently becoming the club’s all-time leading rusher.
“Breaking the record was a very cool experience and a dream come true, but I definitely realize that isn’t an achievement that I have gotten to on my own,” explained Kyle Turanchick, who has racked up more than 4,300 career rushing yards. “I told my lineman after the game (a 58-7 win over Southwood on August 29) that ‘my name may be on the record, but this isn’t possible without you guys and this one is all of ours.’
“Football takes a whole team, not just one player, so I wouldn’t have gotten a single yard, let alone (previous record of) 3,678 yards, without everyone doing their job each and every play. Guys like Wyatt (Strange) and the other linemen have taken pride in owning the line of scrimmage, so it has certainly made it a fun journey for all of us.”
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Strange is just one of the unsung heroes up front that paved the way for Turanchick to run for 1,991 yards with 34 touchdowns in 2021 and 935 yards with 22 scores so far this fall.
“I’m proud that I have helped create a piece of history in Oak Hill football history,” Strange said. “I’m glad to have done it as well with fellow linemen like Silas Jones and Parker Bailey. It’s super cool to see what all records Kyle has been able to break and be able to brag that I was a part of it when I’m past my playing days.
After earning all-state accolades as a junior, Turanchick knew duplicating his accomplishments would not come easy.
“Last year was obviously a really good season for me, and this year I’ve been having a hot start as well,” explained Turanchick. “I would say that for me I have always had a really good work ethic and that has helped propel me to be in the position to make plays when the time comes. I spend a lot of time in preparation all week whether that be on the practice field or watching film studying for what cuts will be there and what my reads are, come game time on Friday night.
“I have tried to improve my explosiveness and my vision a lot this off-season. I feel like I have already started to see that paying off and hopefully that continues as the season moves ahead.”
The same can be said for the fellow three-year regular Strange, who also earned some pre-season recognition.
“This past off-season, I went to more camps than I have ever before,” explained Strange. “I went to 12 camps this summer alone which helped. I learned a ton from different coaches all over the nation. I also spent every morning before school in the weight room and worked out four to five times a week over the summer which helped me put on good solid mass.
“I also feel I have grown the most as being a vocal leader. I feel confident in pointing things out when they are wrong and doing whatever is necessary to fix them. I have devoted a lot of hours into Oak Hill football, and it means a lot to me. I just think being passionate for the game and the guys around me have helped put me in the position to be a captain and an emotional leader which means a lot to me.”
Off to their best start since 2013, one of the highlights for Oak Hill was blanking then No. 1 (Class 2A) Eastbrook (35-0) on September 2 for their first win in the series since 2014.
“The win against Eastbrook was an amazing night,” recalled Turanchick. “It was something that had been a long time coming and that we really had worked hard for. We knew that they were a good program that had beaten us for awhile and we were committed to not letting it happen again this year. We worked all off-season to be ready for the moment and then once Friday night came, we executed our game plan and played full of passion and energy which helped lead us to the victory. However, we have since tried to move on and focus on each game as it comes because we have bigger goals for our team and we can’t get too caught up in a single win, no matter how much it meant to us.”
“It felt good to get the weight off of our shoulders,” Strange added. “It was one of those games that you knew it was going to be a hard physical game. It was an awesome feeling to go and shut them out and bring back some confidence and grit to our team. I feel like all that hard work in the off-season meant something.”
Oak Hill head coach Bud Ozmun is thankful to have guys like Turanchick and Strange leading the charge this fall.
“Kyle and Wyatt have become tremendous leaders and players over the last three seasons,” Ozmun said. “They both understand what the other one, as well as the whole unit, means to their individual success as well as the success of the team. Both of them have their names mentioned more than other members of the team, but they both stay humble in their approach to each game. Not only are they both exceptional players, but they are also both exceptional men.”
Both players are also glad to have Ozmun helping them prepare for their future endeavors.
“Coach Ozmun has helped to develop me in all parts of life,” said Turanchick, who has already committed to Taylor University. “On the field, he has held me accountable since day one. He has taught me how to prepare for a game and how to play at a varsity level and adapt to the speed of the game. He gave me my opportunity to play my freshman year and he has believed in me and trusted me ever since which I am forever grateful for.
“You don’t get to the level he has without being a good coach, but what people don’t see is how he cares for his players beyond the game of football. He has taught me the importance of consistency and helped push me to continue growing and get better every day. He’s also helped develop me into a better leader and I know that will carry over into other areas of my life as well. “
“Coach Ozmun has helped tremendously in developing me as a player and a person,” explained Strange. “He has had a big impact on how I view the game and how I approach it. He also has always been a stickler on the little things which makes you aware of everything you do and take pride in those little things. He has also been a great mentor on how you conduct yourself as a man and carry yourself. I have learned a lot from Coach Ozmun over the last four years and am extremely grateful to play for him.”
The connection between Turanchick and Strange goes well beyond the gridiron.
“Me and Wyatt have a great relationship,” Turanchick said. “We have obviously played together for a long time and so we have developed lots of respect for each through the years. I think we are so close that it allows us both to hold each other accountable and we aren’t afraid to get into each other if we feel the other needs it. Yet, at the end of the day we both know it is always done out of love and respect and so we never take it personal. Wyatt is a great player and an awesome friend, and I definitely am appreciative of our friendship.”
Although the No. 7 (Class 3A) Golden Eagles (5-0) are focused on this Friday’s contest at Frankton (2-3), they also have aspirations of competing for their first sectional crown since 2013.
“The most important thing for us to do to bring home a sectional championship is to play Oak Hill football,” Strange said. “What that means is to do what you do and do it with little to no mistakes. I think if we go in and take it play by play and just focus on doing your job and trusting the 10 other guys on the field, we can bring home a championship. I know if we come out and play hard nose aggressive football, we can achieve whatever we put our minds too.”
“Obviously, we are aware our sectional is a strong one and has some powerhouses in it,” Turanchick said. “But we really just try to focus on what we can control. We think that if we play like we are capable of, we can play with just about anyone. So, we will continue taking one game at a time and when sectionals come, I am confident we will be ready to play, regardless of who we face.”