WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KETK) – Having graduated about 30 seniors from an 8-4 team that went two rounds deep in the playoffs in 2019, the Whitehouse Wildcats are a group that was banking on spring football.
But many of their players used the COVID-19 shutdown wisely.
So now that they’ve returned for summer workouts, they can more efficiently begin preparing for 2020.
“These are a lot harder I’m gonna say that,” admits Whitehouse junior safety and receiver Jayden Brandon as the team gets reacclimated to the intensity of conditioning and sports specific drills as a team.
“Most definitely sore after the first day,” said Whitehouse senior offensive and defensive lineman Garrett Feiden.
“Though we’re not fully in shape, we’re not fully out of shape. And it’s good that they came back. We’re in a position that we can move forward as far as our different type of plays that we want to throw at them, that they haven’t lost all that knowledge that they’ve gained over the last really two years,” said Whitehouse third-year head coach Marcus Gold.
“Without being able to be in here, we wouldn’t be able to build this chemistry that we’re building with these younger guys. And guys that haven’t started before, guys will be seeing the field this year. So they are crucial that we get these next couple of months to get in here and work,” Feiden explained.
There will be a lot of young faces.
Gold expects his sophomores and juniors to become the nucleus of this team. Last year the Wildcats freshman team was 9-1, while the JV was 8-2.
It’s gonna be a challenge for sure, but I think we can do it. If we work together, everybody works hard every single day, we can do it,” said Brandon.
“When you have some players that don’t have as much as experience on the offensive, defensive side of the ball, you’ve gotta adjust to the athletes. You gotta adjust to the kids around you, so they can the most successful, and be the most comfortable, and play as fast as they can on a Friday night,” said Gold.
The Dub has five starters returning on offense, including four on the offensive line.
But only three defensively after a total three seniors, two of them on defense announced last week that they would be transferring to Cedar Hill Trinity Christian, now an independent private school in the Metroplex, where NFL hall of famer Deion Sanders is the offensive coordinator.
The Whitehouse seniors transferring are receiver Austin Barron, linebacker Trae Hawkins, and defensive back Bryson Cobb.
Trinity Christian won the last three TAPPS Division 2 State Championships.
“That’s always a challenge. But I will say we have a lot of kids that are moving in to our program. We’ve had six or seven kids out of the district and over the last two months, with COVID-19 move into our district. When I go back to talking about that young talent, and how many sophomores and how many juniors that we have in the program right now, it’s easy to fill those different holes. So I don’t see us losing a beat,” said Gold.
“I don’t think that really challenges anything. I wouldn’t even call it a setback to be honest. We got guys ready for those positions, ready to work, and ready to buy into the program so they are here, those other three guys are gone,” said Feiden.
And with a couple of those move-ins, Gold now has five capable players competing for the starting quarterback job, three of them juniors in Jezreel Bachert, Sam Cook, and Tristan Smith, along with sophomore Joey Conflitti, and freshman Aeryn Hampton.
Conflitti was the freshman team quarterback last season.
“I know most of them that can sling that rock,” exclaimed Brandon.
“I love it they are working hard. They come in and work, they do extra work. I think all five of them could be filling that position so it’ll be interesting to see what happens,” said Feiden.
“The good thing about this next year is it’s competition with younger kids. Coach Lev (Offensive coordinator Akeem Leviston) has an opportunity to really build with this group of quarterbacks, having them in the program a little longer, I think really gives us a bright future,” said Gold.
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