Friday Night Lights Tonight for the Cougars

It’s been a long wait, but football will tee it up tonight, and head coach Ron Wayman can’t wait to get started. Students and staff have endured COVID, shutdowns, quarantines, and uncertain academic and athletic futures on campus. Finally, however, the school year began with fewer restrictions, and football season returned for Weston Ranch High School for the first time since 2019. Hoping to capitalize on the changes and anticipation, Wayman will start his first full season as head football coach and lead the Cougars to Gregori High School for their first contest against Grace Davis High.

Weston Ranch has been in a perpetual rebuilding phase for the past five seasons. During that stretch, the Cougars managed to win nine games. The last time the Cougars won more than five games was in 2015. Since then, the program has had three head coaches, seen players transfer because of some dysfunction, and been the bottom dwellers of the VOL. All things Wayman hopes his young Cougars will challenge themselves to overcome.

“This team is young, but there is great leadership,” Wayman told The Prowl. “It is going to be an exciting year on the field, and we are preparing to expect the unexpected.”

The shortened season last Spring aside, the Cougars have been working diligently for tonight’s game and the upcoming season. Summer workouts, passing leagues, and weight training are some of the opportunities Wayman offered his team, hoping they will buy into the new culture he has promised to create.

“We pretty much have been practicing consistently since February 2020,” Wayman said. “Of course, there has been a few times off because of Covid protocols. But if you were looking at when the focus shifted to this fall, it changed as soon as we finished our modified spring season, then our incoming Freshmen joined us the first week of June.”

That’s a long time to prepare for the Week 1 game. But, when you look at what the Cougars expect and what goals they have set, the time has been spent wisely. The Prowl asked coach Wayman about the team’s mindset.

“That question has been asked a lot this summer and early fall. The answers are consistent. To continue the change of the Football program’s culture, get some wins, be competitive, and involve the school and community in genuinely making this 1 Team with 1 Mission.”

When the opening kick finally takes flight, Wayman hopes his returning players will continue to improve and take over as leaders. Consistent play from the returners will help the younger players battle through the adversity caused by uncontrollable factors.

Wayman said, “This year’s team is young, but there is excellent leadership. The Brown Sanger brothers, Zyale (Sr.), playing center and middle linebacker, and Namir (Jr.), playing quarterback and strong linebacker, will be anchors on offense and defense. In addition, Jesus Gonzales (Sr.), who returns to us at running back and defensive end, will give us options. Then there are the anchors on both the offensive and defensive line with Elian Urbina (Sr.), Alex Walker (Soph.), and Joseph Richardson (Soph.).”

So, the Cougars will hit the field tonight for their first game in two years with lots of anticipation. It’s always exciting when football begins, and Wayman doesn’t expect his squad to miss the opportunity to enjoy their first Friday Night Lights. He also encouraged all the students and fans to come to watch the fun and share the commitment.

“We’re just excited to have a full season after 18 months of hard work,” Wayman said. “But we need our fans and community to come out, support us, and be part of the change and excitement. ”

Tonight’s game will be at Gregori High School (Modesto).  The Junior Varsity will kick off at 5 pm, and the Varsity will follow at 7 pm.  Follow the Cougars on Twitter using @WRHSJOURNALISM for all of tonight’s action and scores.