With several injuries to key starters, the football team is focusing on developing young players and adjusting to new football program head Michael Burnett.
“We have had a lot of bad luck with injuries,” Burnett said. “I am proud of our young players for measuring up. We are trying to build a program where kids can enjoy playing for all four years.”
The squad lost 27-48 to St. Francis High School on Sept. 21 but said they were proud of their performance against a strong team and saw it as an opportunity to strengthen pre-league play.
Starting quarterback Jameson Wang ’20 left the game early with a hip injury and quarterback Marshall Howe ’21 filled in.
“[Burnett] does a fantastic job in developing our younger guys, whether it’s in practice or in the actual games,” Howe said. “In practice, everyone gets a ton of reps whether it’s on scout team or running our own offense and defense. Also, this year we’ve been fortunate enough to have guys be able to get into the varsity games as well as having a full JV schedule.”
Since last season, Burnett and the Wolverines have reconstructed their offense to primarily run the ball rather than pass. Offensive lineman Vito Ameen ’20 noted the upside to the heavy run game.
“I’m a big fan of Coach Burnett’s run-heavy offense,” Ameen said. “Our heavy run game opens up the passing game, giving an opportunity for passes downfield due to the defense having to worry about the run.”
Running back Sultan Daniels ’19 has increased touches throughout the season due to Burnett’s heavy running offense. Daniels leads the team in yards and has scored at least one touchdown in every victory thus far. Daniels said blocks and trust are very important in order for him to succeed.
“I need to trust everyone in front of me to do their job in order for me to run where the play is designed to go,” Daniels said. “The absolute faith that Coach Burnett has in us with all of the risks he takes transfer over to the way the team feels about each other.”
With a strong performance against St. Francis, the Wolverines have set high expectations for the rest of the season.
Last year, they had an overall record of 8-3 and league record of 3-2, exiting in the first round of CIF playoffs. Burnett said he has higher hopes for this year.
“We believe we can win our league,” Burnett said. “If we can go toe-to-toe with St. Francis, we have a shot at winning our league and making a good run in playoffs. That always has to be our goal. We have to compete for a CIF Championship, whether we win or not, that has to be the mindset for our program.”
The Wolverines’ next game will be at St. Genevieve on Oct. 5 with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m.