The Wasco High School varsity football team is gearing up for another great season. Practice is underway, with their first game in early August.
Chad Martinez has been the head coach since 2017. He is also a teacher at WHS. He said he hopes the boys have a good experience.
"We're going to be a young team, but they are extremely talented, with a ton of building blocks, and it is the perfect recipe to create great memories."
There are 38 members on the team, made up mostly of sophomores and juniors. They practice Monday through Thursday. "We spend an hour on offense, another on defense and 20 minutes on special teams."
The team gives it their all, Martinez says.
"They are tremendously hardworking and fun to be around. They work as hard as anyone in the Valley, and we are working towards a successful season in the fall."
He believes that what makes a good player is the ability to be coached, the ability to be a leader on and off the field and a passion for improvement.
The season runs from early August to late October, finishing the regular season against Shafter.
"That's going to be the big game."
They will also play against teams from Delano, Taft and McFarland.
Eight other coaches include Joseph Dominguez, Stephen Nored, Dominic Martinez, Dre Hankins, Ed Moreno, Jesse Granados, Kyle Wedel and Alex Gallardo.
Martinez said last year they started off fast.
"We did exceptional in the beginning though we had a few injuries and a few guys step up in unfamiliar roles. The team lost a few games towards the middle of the season, but we were still able to beat Shafter High and win the big rivalry game."
He points to a couple of the team's strongest players.
"Leading our returners will be Michael Dominguez as running back. He is a big, tough, physical runner. Our other big offensive threat is Isaiah Acosta."
Martinez said the relationship between academics and athletics is profound.
"Athletics is there to help players learn life lessons but, more importantly, keep their grades up. As a student-athlete, the student part comes first, and we make sure they are keeping up with their studies."
As a coach, he tries to instill values in his players.
"To be accountable, be the hardest worker in the room and believe in what you do."
He added, "I want them to learn that hard work coupled with teamwork is a potent recipe for success. Life is hard, but it's a lot harder if they aren't giving their absolute best every day."
Martinez said he thanks the WHS administration, staff, community, players, and coaches for all their hard work.
"We are gearing up for a huge season, and we are excited for the community to come out for some Friday night football."