Football team benefits from experienced leaders


Cameron Jones ’18 runs with the ball through the Wolverine’s 40 yard line against Garfield High School on Sept. 9. Max Robertson ’17 and Thomas Glover ’18 each scored touchdowns for the Wolverines, who lost the game 38-31. Credit: Aaron Park/Chronicle

Rian Ratnavale

The football team is looking to find the consistency that hasn’t always been there as it heads into league play with a 3-2 record.

The squad’s season started off with two dominant wins: a 20-7 win at Birmingham High School and a 42-23 win over Jefferson High School in the Wolverines’ home opener.
However, the team blew a 21-point lead at home to Garfield and lost by three touchdowns at El Camino Real before getting back on track at home in a 14-10 win over Dominguez High School.
Wide receiver and cornerback Max Robertson ’17 believes that the win against Dominguez, which saw the Wolverines make crucial defensive stops late in the game, is a good sign as the team heads into Angelus League play.
“The win against Dominguez definitely helped us find our rhythm again that we had in the beginning of the season,” Robertson said. “It is definitely a confidence booster and will help us as we push on to league play.”
After losing two senior quarterbacks, Jameson Wang ’20 has stepped in as the new man under center for the Wolverines. The freshman is completing 53 percent of his passes and has thrown 11 touchdowns. Receiver and captain Zac Harleston ’17 said that he is impressed with the young signal caller’s calmness, who has only thrown four interceptions this season.
While the squad players are on average smaller than their opponents are, the Wolverines take advantage of their speed to overpower other teams with big plays. Four Wolverine receivers have a 40-yard or longer receiving touchdown, and running back Thomas Glover ’18 has a 92-yard touchdown run under his belt.
Harleston said the coaching staff puts the players in a good position to mitigate the problems that come with being a smaller team.
“On paper, pretty much all of the teams we play are bigger than us,” Harleston said. “Our coaching staff is great at producing schemes that put us in the best possible position to win against teams that have large size advantages.”
Head coach Scot Ruggles pointed to the versatility of his team as a reason it runs the hybrid defensive scheme with a lot of interchangeable parts the way it does.
“On defense, we are an odd-front, we have three player front, and are not a 4-3 with big guys with their hands on the ground,” Ruggles said. “We essentially have 11 linebacker hybrid defensive backs in our defensive scheme and we move around everyone.”
Even with the lack of size on the team, Ruggles attributed the team’s struggle to defend the run to sub-par tackling but sees improvement on the way.
“Stopping runs means that we have to tackle, and I don’t think we tackled very well in a few games,” Ruggles said.”The kids did well against Dominguez [High School], who had some physical kids in the trenches, including their running backs, but our defense took a step in the right direction.”
At the end of the day, the team recognizes that it is inexperienced, and with that comes panicking and nervousness. Still, the squad isn’t going to use that as a crutch to blame losses on.
“I think since we are a pretty young team we tend to get nervous and panic at times,” Robertson said. “If we control the emotions and anxiety that comes with the game of football, I think we will be fine, no matter what.”