MATTAWA — In his second year, Wahluke head coach Ryan Antos looks to hit the ground running after a year in the books implementing his offense with the program.
In the first weeks of practice, Antos looks to polish the system he instilled last year with the team, and pick up from momentum that was building late last fall. The Warriors will also be able to begin the season with their starting quarterback, Oscar Rodriguez, who missed the first four games last year.
“When we first started practice this last week, it was like we picked up where we left off,” Antos said. “And I’m pretty excited because we get our quarterback from the beginning, and all our receivers are clicking. So it looks pretty good.”
Antos implemented a spread offense in his first year with the program last fall, which he said took some time for the players to get adjusted to. As the season went on, the team started to become more comfortable and familiar with the new system. Moving towards the 2019 season, Antos would like to come out with a balanced approach on the offensive side, but anticipates an improved aerial attack.
“I would anticipate our passing game will look better this year as the guys learn the concepts they’re running,” Antos said. “They’re catching a lot better, and we have a lot of speed at the wide receiver positions.”
Jose Celaya, who plays running back and safety for Wahluke, is a player Antos said he has big expectations for this season, operating as not only a team captain, but a team leader as well. Senior wide receiver Isaac Sanchez is another offensive player the Wahluke head coach feels is ready to put everything together this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Antos said he looks to keep the concepts simple and let the players play fast, taking advantage of the same level of speed that will fuel the team on offense.
A two-way player on the line for the Warriors, Pedro Casteneda, is someone who Antos said really gets things going for the Warriors on both sides. Casteneda was selected second-team all-conference last year as a sophomore. Two other big players for Wahluke on defense include defensive end, Manny Garcia, and Luis Gonzalez at linebacker.
Moving towards the opening season game against Wapato on Friday, Sept. 6, Antos said he looks for improvement upon what he saw against the Wolves last year.
“I just want to see a ton of improvement from where we were last year at this time, for one,” Antos said. “And, two, just to see the boys play with heart, come out and fight and see where we’re at.”
Coming in to this season, with players that are familiar with the system, Antos looks to improve on the win total from last season, with an ultimate goal of being in the district playoff game at the end of the season.
“I think that’s a goal that’s reachable that we should be able to accomplish,” Antos said. “It’s a tough league, probably the toughest league in Washington.”