Weston Ranch football finally had its new beginning last Friday. Playing in front of a reasonably packed Don Lanphear Stadium in Modesto, the Cougars took the field hoping tonight was the night a new tradition was born. However, the Grace Davis Spartans got in their way, and the Cougars dropped game one 28-0.
Playing the first game on the road is always challenging. Add to that the fact the team couldn’t travel together (team bus was unavailable), they lost a practice day because MUSD shut down all outside activities last Wednesday due to smoky air, and they are young and inexperienced, the Cougars were staring into the abyss.
And, their opponent was a pretty good football team boasting size, speed, and strength, all things the Cougars are fighting hard to get.
“Friday night was an emotional and disappointing loss,” head coach Ron Wayman told The Prowl. “This morning, as we returned to the weight room, even though we spoke about the loss, we talked about what we learned and how we can get better.”
Although last Friday was a loss, the Cougars look like they will be good on defense. The Cougar D spent a lot of time on the field but were able to come up with some big stops. However, they were victimized by three big plays that led to Spartan scores and hurt themselves with penalties. But, they did play with fire and, had the offense provided some production, the defensive effort may have made up for the lack of offensive scoring.
“The defense played admirably,” Wayman said. “They spent a lot of time on the field, and more than once stepped up. There were more bright spots on defense than we will get credit for.”
Offensively, the Cougars struggled the entire evening. The Cougars had the ball 12 times but couldn’t manage to extend their turns into any meaningful. Again, field position was the biggest obstacle as Weston Ranch spent most of the evening playing on their side of the field, often from the 20-yard line or deeper. At times, the Cougars appeared to move the football, but costly mistakes and penalties killed any momentum like their defense. Wayman noticed all of this, and the Cougars will add another focus into their practice plans.
” The area of the game that we must focus on this week is picking up the blitzes and being able to give our QB and offense more time for the plays to develop.”
So, the Cougars will head into Week 2 for a scheduled game against Mountain House High School. Again, the Cougars will have to work through some adversity as the game was changed from Friday to Thursday, costing the Cougars another valuable practice day. The schedule change was a last-minute change, and Weston Ranch will have to adapt to the shortened week. A young team with little experience needs stability, but Wayman sees this as another great learning opportunity.
“We have to take the good and the bad and learn from both and now get ready for Mountain House coming into our house on Thursday. This Thursday is a big night for us. We have not had a home game since the final game of the 2019 season against Oakdale, so this Thursday will be important to us. Thursday will be the test to how we get back up after last Friday against Davis High School.”
Wayman added, “Of course, we have a lot to show this week, as our school, our community, and others will be here to see how the program has changed over the last 19 months. Mountain House will be a good match-up with us this Thursday and an opportunity to continue improving and getting ready for the rest of preseason and then the league play against the VOL schools. The loss, as stated, did disappoint us; but this morning, you could still feel the passion and drive of this team to get better. We are young, yes we are; but we have heart.
Thursday night will begin with the JV kickoff at 5 pm, and the Varsity will tee it up at 7 pm.
Photos courtesy of Mr. Windschitl’s Advance Photography class.
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