WAYNESFIELD — Chandler Little grew up in the golden age of football at Waynesfield-Goshen High School.
He watched the team constantly battling for league championships from 2004 to 2012, going 62-32 during that span and making the playoffs four times. He watched his brother, Dylan, play for some of those teams.
However, reduced enrollment and a loss of interest has spun the program into a downturn. The team won only five games during Chandler’s four-year career and the very existence of the program has been threatened because of lack of interest. That was when Chandler stepped forward and took a leadership role.
“Football means a lot in this town,” Chandler said. “We wanted to keep it going.”
Chadler was instrumental in talking with several other players and urging them to play. He said it was tough, but it was important to keep the sport going.
“It was tough,” Chandler said. “You can’t promise them success. With the numbers, you could at least tell them they would have playing time. We wanted to keep fans and keep players interested.”
Chandler led by example during his career. He played in all 40 games during his career. He started in 39 of those, missing out only on the first game of his freshman year. In 2015, he was a first-team all-Northwest Central Conference performer with 109 tackles and he was honorable mention this past season. Chandler was approached about fleeing to open enroll to greener pastures at Upper Scioto Valley with other players, who made the playoffs this season. However, he stayed.
“I am a Tiger,” Chandler said.
Winless this past year, Chandler still sees the team as on the right path. He said the freshman class developed tremendously by the end of the season and that football will soon be successful in his hometown.
Chandler’s hard work in other areas has helped shape him for adult life. He has a 3.0 GPA, including a 3.6 GPA for his senior year.
He also works a full-time job.
He was a member of the powerlifting team, placing 11th in the state, and he is involved with the National FFA Organization. He also works on race cars with his family, who regularly participates in races at DeGraff.
He plans on attending Wright State University-Lake Campus to major in electrical engineering. He is hoping to land a job in engineering at Honda when he graduates.
Chandler is the son of Dave and Amy Little and he also has a younger sister.
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or on Twitter @LanceMihm.