WATERFORD, CA - It's the fifth head coach in four years for the Waterford Wildcats. It's a program searching for an identity and a program looking to regain a place of respect in regional small schools competition. I think any of the coaches at Waterford High would tell you there is a lot of work to be done, but there were signs of progress in the Wildcats scrimmage match verses Johansen High Saturday night.
Waterford could leave the field Saturday night with their heads held high. They certainly found the end-zone more then the other team in the Scrimmage. Even if scrimmages do not directly translate into real games. Waterford will get their chance to prove their mettle next week against Johnson from Sacramento. The bottom line from Saturday night was the confidence and pride in the eyes of the Varsity players who left the field. It was a good first step on the way back for the beleaguered Waterford Football Program.
THREE TAKE AWAYS:
Waterford showed great depth at the QB position. Two young QB's slung the ball around with poise and ease Saturday night. Transfer Junior - David Nichols and Sophomore Michael Vivo lit up Johansen in the air and they both proved they are quick on the feet as well.
2. Offensive Line:
Waterford seems to have upgraded their capabilities on the offensive line from last season. Maybe it's because this new coaching staff decided to throw the ball a lot more, or maybe this line has veteran experience, either way the blocking looked much better for the Wildcats.
3. Head Coach - Offensive Coordinator:
Waterford has a new Head Coach in Lonnie Statzer. Coach Statzer has played with a great football program, he was apart of the 1997 Hughson State Championship Team. However, he is young in High School coaching experience. Statzer quickly ascended up the football ladder at Waterford, especially as Waterford has struggled to rebuild in the last couple of seasons. Statzer started as the JV Defensive Coordinator last season where he had some success at the lower level. He was given the reigns of the JV Team as Head Coach mid-season. He also helped coordinate the Varsity defense last season as well. Then at the beginning of the 2016 summer, he was asked to take over as the Varsity Head Coach. As daunting of a task as it would seem to be, Coach Statzer has some help behind him. Former Waterford Head Coach Todd Sevick is working as an advisor to Coach Statzer. Also Waterford alumnus and former QB Wade Hawkins has returned home to lead the Varsity Offense this season. He played QB for Menlo College in California. It is clear Waterford's offense has benefited from his return, especially at the position of Quarterback. This combination of Statzer-Hawkins could be just what the doctor ordered for the Wildcats.
Waterford will open the season Friday Night against Johnson from Sacramento. Game time is 7:30PM at Waterford High School.