Season Wrapup: Bryn Renner

North Carolina verbal commitment Bryn Renner was more than just the quarterback for an offense that helped Springfield (Va.) West High post an 8-4 record this season.

"He was the heartbeat of the team," said Bill Renner, head football coach of West Springfield and Bryn's father. "His competitiveness and his intensity to want to win really set the tone for the whole team. He really set the mood for how intense we played."

Renner, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder, was the crucial element to West Springfield's pass-heavy spread offense, which averaged nearly 44 points per game this season. This season was his second at quarterback for West Springfield.

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"He developed a greater self-confidence and a piece about being able to know that he could make plays when things were going bad or when a play needed to be made," Coach Renner said. "The year before, he would make the plays, but he didn't do it with the confidence that he knew he could make the play, because he hadn't done it yet. When he came into this season, he thought ‘I know if I'm in this situation, I can make the play.'"

Renner accounted for 45 touchdowns as a senior – 35 passing and 10 rushing. He completed 197 of his 329 passing attempts (59.9-percent) for 3,123 yards and just four interceptions. He collected 470 yards on 97 rushes.

For his career, Renner has passed for 5,872 yards and 67 touchdowns and rushed for 982 yards and 19 scores. He holds nine school records.

In addition to being selected to the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp prior to the season, Renner is a two-time Patriot District Offensive Player-of-the-Year. He is also a 2008 nominee for both the Joe Montana Quarterback-of-the-Year Award and the Gatorade Football Player-of-the-Year for the state of Virginia.

Renner's senior season, though, got off to a rocky start with West Springfield, dropping the first two games – 42-28 to Stone Bridge (Va.) and 35-34 to Alexandria (Va.) Edison, though both those teams ended the regular season undefeated.

West Springfield answered back with a 50-27 victory over Fairfax (Va.) Robinson, which kicked off a six-game winning streak.

In the final game of the aforementioned winning streak, Renner suffered a sprained non-throwing shoulder.

"I was going down covering a punt, I got cheap-shotted from the back," Renner said. "… I was punting and there was like 50 seconds left. I was just jogging down and one of the players hit me from the back and I just fell on my shoulder wrong. It was a rivalry game, so they were gunning for me."

For precautionary reasons, Renner sat out the following game against Alexandria (Va.) Williams. Without him under center, West Springfield lost, 18-16, and for the first time that season scored less than 28 points.

Renner returned for the subsequent game. West Springfield went on to win its next three contests, which included its first round playoff game against Fairfax (Va.) Woodson.

For its second round playoff match-up, West Springfield traveled to Vienna, Va. to play Oakton, which went undefeated until losing to Chesapeake (Va.) Smith in the championship game.

West Springfield headed into the fourth quarter against Oakton trailing 49-29. With the help of two fumble recoveries, a Renner-led offense scored 14 unanswered points. A defensive stop put the ball back into Renner's hands with a minute and a half remaining in the game. On a fourth-and-five at mid-field, Renner dropped back to pass, scrambled, and decided to run for the first down. He gained four and a half yards – six inches shy of what was needed for the first down.

"I was on a knee right where the chain was coming," Renner recalled of the official measurement of the play. "I thought I for sure had a good shot at getting [the first down]. When the chains were coming down, it was a long period [of time] and one of the most heart-wrenching things that I've had to go through in my entire life. Just waiting for those chains to come out and seeing that we were six inches short was very tough to handle."

Renner ended the Oakton game with 423 yards on 24-of-48 passing, plus 96 yards rushing. He scored six touchdowns – four through the air and two on the ground.

After the football season the past three years, Renner had immediately joined West Springfield's basketball team. Not this season.

"I decided just to take the season off, and get bigger and get ready for Carolina," Renner said. "So I decided not to play basketball this year."

Renner says he will, though, definitely play baseball.

On Thursday night, Renner hosted John Shoop, UNC's offensive coordinator, for an in-home visit.

"[He discussed] the things that he's going to expect from me," Renner said.

Also discussed was Renner's UNC official visit. Although nothing has been scheduled, Renner is looking at the weekends of Jan. 10 and Jan. 24 for the trip.

"We're going to talk about official visits more in the upcoming weeks," Renner said. "[Shoop] said he's going to get back to me and let me know what weekend he wants me to come down. [It will probably be a weekend] when they're bringing all the uncommitted guys to talk to them."

One topic not discussed was UNC's first-year plans for Renner; more specifically whether he'll red-shirt his freshman season.

"I think when the time comes, he'll let me know," Renner said. "I'm going to just come down, go to practice and just work hard, and see how it plays out. I don't really have any expectations."

Regardless of when Renner sees the field, his biggest fan will be there every step of the way. Coach Renner decided to hang up his headset and follow his son's collegiate career.

"I knew there would be a conflict, because I really wanted to watch him play," Coach Renner said. "And I knew that that conflict would put me to having to make a decision about what I was going to do with my own coaching career… I couldn't make a commitment that needed to be made as a head coach to the kids and the program."

Although he plans to work football camps in his spare time, Coach Renner isn't sure if he'll ever coach again.

"I really don't look that far into the future, only because I know how fast life changes," he said. "I can't say that I won't [coach again]. I don't think I'll do it while [Bryn is] playing."

Bryn Renner does have one football game left to play before he wears a UNC uniform. He'll travel to Honolulu next week for the Hawaii All-Star Football Classic. Renner was one of 40 standouts selected to play against Hawaii's top prep players on Dec. 12 at Aloha Stadium. The game will be nationally televised by FOX West.

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