SEYMOUR >> Plenty of runners are fast on the track, but put them in a helmet and shoulder pads and they’re suddenly not quite as speedy.
Not so with Bobby Melms.
“It seems he’s even faster in pads,” said Seymour football coach Tom Lennon.
Certainly, not much slowed Melms down last year as he was helping Seymour reach the Class S state semifinals for a second straight season. Melms rushed for 1,253 yards and 19 touchdowns on 141 carries, while also catching six touchdown passes. Overall, he wound up with 2,085 all-purpose yards while scoring 25 touchdowns.
Defensively, the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder was all over the field, making 21 tackles and recovering a pair of fumbles.
“He can do a lot of things for us,” said Lennon. “His speed is just a tremendous asset. He’s continuing to get better as a runner, and he’s a great receiver out of the backfield. That allows us to do a lot of different things with him.”
One thing Melms doesn’t seem to like to do, however, is talk much about himself.
“Compared to my sophomore year, I think I did a lot better last year,” he said, with a shrug. “I’m hoping to improve again this year.”
Melms isn’t so much concerned about individual goals as he is the success of his team. Although Seymour lost quarterback Jaylen Kelley and most of its offensive line to graduation, the team has high expectations for this season. It’s a tight group, and the players have gone back and forth for weeks now on a group text chat about how eager they are to start the season.
“We really can’t wait,” said Melms. “I think we’re a playoff team. Everyone’s goal is a state championship. That’s something that can be accomplished.”
If the Wildcats are to accomplish that, Melms will likely have a lot to do with it. He returns kicks and punts for Seymour, as well, and on defense, Lennon noted that he doesn’t really have a position. He’ll put him at defensive end, linebacker, safety – anywhere.
“Kind of wherever we need him,” Lennon said.
But it’s as a running back where Melms is most explosive. Last year, he and Kelley handled the bulk of the carries. This season, Melms will likely have to do more, as junior quarterback Ian Sadick, a converted wide receiver, is more of a classic, drop-back passer than he is a scrambler.
Melms says he’s never been timed in the 40, but Lennon believes he has about 4.5, 4.6 speed. That translates well on the track, where Melms is also a standout performer. Last year, he was Naugatuck Valley League champion in both the 200 and 400, Class M champion in the long jump (and runner-up in the 400), and State Open champ in the long jump with a distance of 22-11.
In fact, it’s track where Melms will likely shift his focus in college. While he’s been recruited by some Patriot League schools for football, there’s more serious interest from track coaches. UConn, URI, Villanova and Sacred Heart are among those who have inquired about him, most likely as a long jumper.
But that’s for the future. Right now, Bobby Melms is hoping to continue Seymour’s recent success on the gridiron and get the Wildcats over the hump and win a Class S title this season.
“We’re hopeful,” said Lennon. “We have the pieces in place, if we can continue to grow. We have the potential to continue to be successful.”
“I think we’re at kind of a high standard now,” added Melms. “We want to be there at the end.”