The football team looks to reconstruct its program after a promising last season cut short in the first round of playoffs with the help of new head coach Michael Burnett. The Wolverines spent the summer focusing on a new offensive approach and creating strong team chemistry.
“We’ve spent countless hours in the weight room, more than we have ever in my time in the program,” running back Will Goldberg ’19 said. “We’ve spent lots of time on the field working on our conditioning. Our program is heading in the right direction and we are very excited for the future, especially the younger guys that will continue the tradition of relentless attitude and passion that the upperclassmen have established.”
The team lost its season opener 30-21 to the Birmingham Patriots in a back and forth game. The players showcased their new heavy offensive running strategy, but were defeated by the strength of an older Patriots roster. The Wolverines attempted to tire out the Patriots’ defense on the field, lengthening offensive possessions by running the ball often.
“Strengthening our run game will clearly be the most drastic change from last season,” receiver Brendan Kang ’20 said. “Coach Burnett emphasizes how we must dominate the other team by running the ball in order to open up the pass game, control tempo and even give our defense more time to rest.”
In addition to his new game strategy, Burnett has implemented a new form of player leadership on the team.
“With Coach Burnett’s ‘no hierarchy’ philosophy, leadership is definitely different,” Goldberg said. “It makes it so any teammate can step up at any given time and show leadership.”
With the departure of several senior receivers, the Wolverines have been working to trust each other on offense.
“I worked a lot with the receivers this offseason because I lost [Thomas Glover ’18] and [Cameron Jones ’18] last year,” Wang said. “I needed to get my timing down with the new guys since they won’t have much experience playing varsity football.”
The team has been working to form relationships off the field in order to work better on the field as a unit. They have also been physically training leading up to season in order to match up to older, stronger teams.
“Preseason is honestly one of the most important parts of the season,” receiver Jason Thompson ’22 said. “I was able to build a special bond with my teammates and really learn how we, as a team, like to play football since I am a freshman and we have a new coach.”
They were 8-3 overall last season with high momentum going into CIF playoffs, but fell to St. Joseph’s 49-44 in the first round. The Wolverines have set high goals for this season after a successful season last year.
“Off the field, we want to be a program that the entire school community can be proud of in our actions,” Burnett said. “On the field, our goal has to be the same every year – to compete for a CIF championship. I believe it is imperative to set high expectations regardless of how it ends. Striving for high expectations is what matters most.
The team will play Crespi High School at Pierce College next Friday, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.