Countdown to Kickoff: River Road Wildcats

Countdown to Kickoff: River Road Wildcats
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

After a rocky season in 2017, River Road is optimistic about what they've built in the offseason.

"Our team chemistry is a lot better than last year, because we fought and didn't get along," explained senior outside receiver Bryson Phelps. "This year, everything's going right. So I think it's going to be good."

Head coach Bryan Welps has coached several teams at River Road during his two coaching stints with the wildcats, but feels this particular group is going to come together to win.

"This team is really unique because they're a real close bunch. We've been working since football was over last year. We had a great spring, a great offseason. They've really come together as a group, and I feel like they've really created a big strong bond, and you can see it as we go into two a days," said Coach Welps. "I think that's gonna help us going into district play and the preseason and all that. Those guys have played together for a while and it's gonna help."

Their sophomore quarterback, Lance Welps, thinks the team may have gelled so well  because many of them are young.

"A lot of us are actually underclassmen, juniors and sophomores and stuff. I mean they're all really good close friends," said Welps.

With a young team comes a unique opportunity to gain experience at the varsity level while many players are still growing--whether it be mentally or physically.

"I feel like I'm more in shape from high school workouts. Last year I was in middle school workouts, so I wasn't really working out as hard. Now my body's kind of growing up," said Welps. "And, I've got a new coaching staff, we've got a strength and conditioning coach now, so I was able to get in shape a lot better."

Still, with a young team, there does need to be some experienced role models to set an example for those that are still learning.

"I feel like I'm just gonna try to be the biggest role model I can for those younger guys so they can look up to me and see me as working hard, so they'll do that whenever they get in their senior year, and they can help the younger kids under them," expressed Phelps.

In this team's case, their youth has been a path to their growth.

"Its kind of hard because they start off with not very much trust in you, and then you have to try to build the trust back up with them so that maybe they won't consider you much of an underclassman, it's more of just what's on the field and what you can do," said Welps.

It could be the factor that sets them apart.

"You know looking at us, they're gonna think they're young and this, and that, but we have more experience than people really think," explained Coach Welps.

River Road opens up on the road against Abernathy.