Warriors look to grow through grueling 2022 schedule
photo by Alex Eller, Wahoo NewspaperMaking Space: Owen Hancock of Wahoo stiff arms a defender in the Blue and Gold scrimmage at Wahoo High School on Aug. 19. Wahoo enters the season rated No. 7 in Class C-1 in the preseason polls. They take on Pierce on the road at 7:00 p.m. on Aug. 26 to start the year.
WAHOO- The 2022 Wahoo Football Team will look much different from one a year ago, when they went 7-4 overall and reached the quarterfinals of the Class C-1 State Football Playoffs. A big graduating class and then a small senior class leave the Warriors with a lot of inexperience going into this season.
“We did graduate a large talented senior group and we have a small senior group this season, so that combination means we are going to be young and inexperienced this season,” Wahoo Head Coach Chad Fox said.
Big losses for the Warriors are on the line and in the running game. Notable athletes Wahoo will be without include Collin Ludvik and Gavin Pokorny who were their leading rushers, Carson Lavaley a force on the offensive and defensive line, and Curtis Swahn who was the team’s leading tackler.
Heading into this season, the Warriors do bring back their quarterback Owen Hancock who had 796 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, 359 rushing yards, and 11 rushing touchdowns. They also have Dominek Rohleder, David Divis, and Dawson Rafteseth back with experience on the offensive and defensive line, and William Nielson and Zach Fox who got playing time last season at skilled positions.
“We have a few players that have some Friday night experience from last season,” Fox said. “We expect Dominek Rohleder, David Divis, and Dawson Rafteseth to all bring their experiences from last season to anchor our offensive and defensive lines. Owen Hancock, William Nielson, and Zach Fox are all skill players that have the ability to step up and have successful seasons. We also have some younger players like Sam Edmonds, Josh Edmonds, Jonas Schnakenberg, Jake Scanlon, and Caden Smart that have had great off-seasons that are poised to have a break-out season, as well.”
Despite having a young squad, Wahoo will have to get their footing under them relatively quick with a game at Class C-1 Runner-Up Pierce to start the year. That is followed up with Ashland-Greenwood at home who lost one game a season ago and then defending Class C-1 State Champs Columbus Lakeview on the road later in the year.
In Fox’s tenure as the Head Coach which dates back to the early 2000s, he believes this might be the toughest schedule one of his teams has ever had.
“We will play the toughest schedule in C-1 this year without a doubt and it might be the toughest schedule we have faced in the time we have been at Wahoo,” Fox said. “We are hoping that starting our schedule with Pierce, Ashland-Greenwood, and Auburn will give us a gauge of where we are as a team and where we need to improve as we get into District play. Our District is also very difficult with Columbus Lakeview and Columbus Scotus both being preseason ranked, as well. So we will need to focus on improving each week and putting ourselves in a position to win our District in order to qualify for the playoffs and hopefully be in a position to advance in the playoffs this season.”
Throughout this season, Fox looks for his seniors to lead the way for this young group through a tough schedule. He hopes that the leadership and guidance they bring to the underclassmen will help the Warriors be back in the playoffs for an eighth straight year.
“I have mentioned our seniors, Dominek Rohleder, David Divis, Jacob Andresen, Dawson Rafteseth, Zach Fox, Owen Hancock, Trevor Ehrlich, and William Nielson all will contribute to our success this season,” Fox said. “Their leadership will hopefully bring our younger and less experienced kids along as the season goes.”
This year Wahoo will be in the C1-3 District. Teams in this district include Arlington, Douglas County West, Columbus Lakeview, Columbus Scotus, and Schuyler.
The Warriors start their season off on August 26 at 7 p.m. at Pierce.