While the season record may not show the growth of the Waconia football team this season, the behind the scenes work done by the Wildcats surely has.
Despite a 1-8 record under Sam Baker’s first season as head coach, the Wildcats “really layed a solid foundation for the future,” according to Baker.
“Regardless of wins and losses, they had a great time and they got to bond with their teammates a lot more, which really helps with building that solid foundation.”
From ice cream socials to dance offs at practice, introducing the Wildcat Walk to the community, the inflatable tunnel from the Lions, and adopting the “F.A.M.I.L.Y” acronym (“Forget about me, I love you”), Baker said the Wildcats are on the right track for a bright future.
“Some of our inexperience showed, and just trying to teach the kids how to win again, but the kids bought into everything we are doing,” Baker said.
After losing homecoming to Mound-Westonka on Sept. 27, the Wildcats’ sole win of the season came at Holy Family on Oct. 4, when Waconia surprised the Fire with a 17-10 victory.
“That loss to Mound hurt, but with the benefit of hindsight, it can be one of the best things that happened to us, because that’s what woke us up for the second half of the season,” Baker said.
WHS tied for the bottom of the Wright County Conference with Mound-Westonka and Holy Family; all four teams held 1-4 conference records.
The season ended Oct. 22 as the No. 6 Wildcats made a run at No. 3 Chanhassen in Class 5A, Section 2 competition, but fell to the Storm 28-14.
While the varsity team may not have had the stellar season it had hoped for, teams throughout the Waconia football program displayed signs that there are definitely good things to come for WHS. The junior varsity team finished the season 4-3, while both the ninth and eighth grade teams pulled off perfect 8-0 seasons. The seventh, sixth, and fifth grade teams had solid seasons as well, Baker said.
“And they’re all running our stuff,” he said. “From the ground up, everybody is running some form of our offense and defense.”
At quarterback, Storley completed 84 of 134 pass attempts this season, totaling 867 yards for four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Glynn led the Wildcat rushing squad, scoring five touchdowns on 86 carries for 303 yards. Baumann had 45 carries for 138 yards. Mason Hemze scored one touchdown on 18 carries for 102 yards. Talton had six carries for 30 yards and a touchdown.
Glynn also led the team in receptions, with 18 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Marker had 13 catches for 232 yards. Tyler Myrvold and Kellen Ruotsinoja each had double digit catches for 66 and 68 yards, respectively.
On defense, tackle leaders included Cody Ellis (49), Hukriede (48), Owen Hemze (43), Kevin Logelin (43), and Charles Frempong-Longdon (41).
The team’s annual end-of-season banquet was held on Oct. 21 and multiple MSHSL and team awards were given. All-Conference honors went to junior Nathan Glynn, senior Nick Hukriede, and senior Charles Frempong-Longdon, while Honorable Mention awards went to seniors Hunter Baumann, Cole Sawyer, and Jesse Vogelgesang, along with Royce Marker and Owen Hemze.
Team and program awards included: True Wildcat (Frempong-Longdon), Special Teams MVP (Joe Francen), Offensive MVP (Nathan Glynn), Defensive MVP (Nick Hukriede), Best Offensive Lineman (Eli Teeselink), Best Defensive Lineman (Cole Sawyer), Most Improved Special Teams Player (Zach Buffington), Most Improved Defensive Player (Kevin Logelin), and Most Improved Offensive Player (Zach Sinnen).
At the junior varsity level, awards included: True Wildcat (Bradey Kamish), Most Improved Offensive Player (Patrick Whalen), and Most Improved Defensive Player (Derek Martin).
Ninth grade awards went to: Justin Schultz (True Wildcat), Bobby Flemming (Most Improved Offensive Player), and Cole Bremer (Most Improved Defensive Player).
The Wildcats graduate 18 seniors including: Cody Ellis, Charles Frempong-Longdon, Cole Sawyer, Charlie Spurbeck, Hunter Baumann, Zach Bufton, Brent Mohler, Zach Vos, Matt Gorres, Nick Hukriede, Casey Karels, Joe Francen, Steven LaDouceur, Jesse Vogelgesang, Zach Sinnen, Kevin Eanes, Tyler Myrvold, and Kellen Ruotsinoja.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]