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Big freshman has huge impact
Wynn-Coleman an instant hit with Jackets

 James Monroe freshman Antonio Wynn-Coleman throws down Kettle Run quarterback Carlos Vegerano for a loss.
REZA MARVASHTI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 12/4/2012

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

All last offseason after the James Monroe football team lost in the Group AA, Division 3 state championship game, coach Rich Serbay was inundated with talk about an incoming freshman.

"Everybody kept saying 'Wait until you get this kid from Walker-Grant [Middle School]. He's a player,'" Serbay recalled. "Since Walker-Grant didn't win a game, I was thinking 'Well how good is this kid?'"

Serbay received his answer on the first day of JM practice.

He saw Antonio Wynn-Coleman, who is known as "Big Baby," running sprints and was taken aback.

He realized all the hype Wynn-Coleman received was well-deserved.

"I said 'My God, I didn't think he was that big,'" Serbay said. "All of a sudden, I saw him walking around and I started going 'Oh my God, this kid can play. He's big. He's huge. He's quick.'"

Serbay said he put "no thought whatsoever" into placing Wynn-Coleman on junior varsity.

Wynn-Coleman (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) has started all 13 games at nose guard for the Yellow Jackets (12-1) as they prepare for a state championship game rematch with Brookville (13-0) on Saturday at noon at Liberty University.

Wynn-Coleman has 79 tackles (13 for loss) and five sacks this season and was a second-team all-Battlefield District selection.

"Somewhere along the line, somebody taught him some awesome football, because he came to us polished," Serbay said. "The only thing we're going to do is polish him a little bit more and work every day on getting him better."

Wynn-Coleman said the polish comes from his days playing with the Manassas Mutiny American Youth Football League team.

The Mutiny played for national championships and were rarely scored on. Wynn-Coleman was selected for the AYF eighth-grade All-American game last year at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Fla., and scored on a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"The travel teams helped me a lot," Wynn-Coleman said. "I just learned a lot from the competition and it helped polish my moves."

Serbay said Wynn-Coleman is effective because he's tenacious, has a strong work ethic and takes criticism well. He said Wynn-Coleman's development has helped the Yellow Jackets linebackers become tackling machines.

James Monroe senior linebacker Tony Scott said when Wynn-Coleman is playing well, he forces double-teams. That frees up Scott and Eric Nelson to wreak havoc.


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DIVISION 3 CHAMPIONSHIP at Liberty University

James Monroe (12-1) vs. Brookville (13-0), noon