Something was missing for Trevor Spencer in the fall. He had stopped playing football at Wes-Del after getting injured during his freshman year. But he found that he missed it. Spencer, who also wrestles and plays baseball, tried fall baseball. But it just didn’t fill the void. To top it off, his old football teammates were still trying to get him to return.
So he’s come back to the team this year as a senior, not wanting to finish his high school career without another season on the gridiron.
“I really did start to miss the sport,” Spencer said. “These guys have been my teammates in a lot of different sports, too. So I really missed the bond I was having. Because I felt like I was missing something. And I realized it was this sport and my teammates.”
Spencer isn’t the only senior who has made a return to the team. The Warriors have 12 seniors on the team this year, a large spike for a school where attrition has often led to senior classes of approximately four football players.
Like Spencer, others drifted away from the team during the middle portion of their high school years. But he is one of several who have returned to form the big senior class.
They’re hopeful that having an older group will help them improve. The Warriors have won one game in each of the last two seasons and haven’t won more than three games since a five-win season in 2007.
Tre’ Quinn, a senior running back and linebacker who has played all four years, said those who have returned didn’t do so out of an expectation it would be easy. Brad Hess has taken over as the program’s first-year head coach. Hess had previously served as an assistant coach at Wes-Del, and one of his duties had been leading the Warriors’ conditioning.
Quinn said it was well known Hess would be tough. But he likes the defense the coach has designed for the team, saying it seems to fit with the Warriors’ personnel.
“I see a lot of potential, because in the past we haven’t been real good on defense and stopping runs and passes and all that,” Quinn said. “And I think we’re going to be real good with that flying to the football this year. Coach Hess, he really wants us to keep doing that.”
Hess said he also has a big freshman class this season, with 37 total players on the team. He’s hoping to build around his oldest and youngest players.
Hess was familiar with his players before taking over as head coach, something that he said made installing his system simpler. In fact, he said he felt ready for the Warriors to have a game, even before last week’s scrimmage against Northfield.
“I really feel comfortable to go out and play a game with everything we have in right now,” Hess said. “Obviously there’s always going to be stuff to add as we go throughout the season, as we scout every team. That’s going to be something that we have changes here and there.
“But these guys are ready to play. We’ve got our special teams in, we’ve got our offense and defense. I’m honestly feeling pretty comfortable, if we, again, had to play a game.”