Ric Johns got off a rough start in his first two seasons as the head coach at Wesclin High School. But even coming off a 2-7 season, the experienced coach believe the program is primed to improve in 2015.
The Warriors return eight starters, including quarterback Hayden Rapien, but lost key two-way players in Justin Goff and Mitchell Kollmann
While the playoffs might be a stretch goal for Wesclin, Johns said he believes Wesclin has an opportunity to show what it is made of in 2015.
“We’re looking to make a similar (to last year) jump or exponential leap so to speak,” Johns said. “We have a chance to be pretty good and the kids are working hard.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Of the returners on offense, Rapien has the best track record. Last season, he completed 12 of 25 passes and rushed for another 262 yards.
Helping Rapien find success at quarterback will be four returning starters on the offensive line, something Johns said he thinks will be critical to the Warriors’ success.
Also returning to help the Warriors’ offense are seniors Black Laird Ryan Mugele. Laird rushed for 74 yards last season, while Mugele ran for 91 yards on 17 carries.
While the offense lost one of its star players from last season, the Wesclin defense has some of its top performers from last season back.
Last season’s tackles leader Jason Robinson leads the defense at the linebacker position and will be helped on the outside by Laird, one of the team’s top defensive backs. DB Cameron Tanuvasa-Lole, LB Michael Cornwall and DL Nathan Herr, along with Rapien, come together to make for an experienced defense.
“We’re looking for a big year out of Jason Robinson,” Johns said. “He’s one of the premier players in the league.”
Much like the offense, the two biggest losses on the defensive side of the ball are Goff and Kollmann.
— Benjamin Levin
at Mount Oliver
at Red Bud