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A Sit-Down with WHS Head Football Coach Zane Aguilar

A Sit-Down with WHS Head Football Coach Zane Aguilar

Fri, 07/05/2019 - 04:11
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As expected, Summer 2019 is moving right along, harvest is complete or near complete, and Driver’s Ed will wrap up soon as will many of the summer programs offered locally through the WRC and others. Some folks are taking vacations, the Kansas Wheat Festival rapidly approaches - just another great summer in progress, for the citizens of 67152.

I did leave one summer group out, the PSQ’ers, and for many of those participants, it’s called Wellington Football. Every summer, the coaching staff at WHS run a weight and speed development program. This summer, about 85 student-athletes have and are participating. Not all are football players, but many are.

In a sit-down interview with WHS Head Football Coach Zane Aguilar earlier this week, he spoke highly of this summer’s participants and indicated attendance has been regular and good! Both males and females, ages 1st grade thru 12th grade, take part in the 4 day a week conditioning training, (3 days-a-week for the young ones), which began on June 10th and will run through July 25th. A very committed group of Crusaders and future Crusaders for sure and a very committed coaching staff.

Coach Aguilar is looking forward to this fall season, his 4th as head football coach at WHS. He was an assistant for 8 years prior. Most of you know, Zane graduated from WHS in 2004, attended Coffeyville (played football), and then transferred to WSU his junior year to finish up his Bachelor’s.

He described all of that as “…an amazing experience growing up here, I wanted to come back and raise my kids here.” He has done and is doing just that. Zane and his lovely wife Liz, have 2 children, Clara, age 4 and Micah, almost 2. Liz grew up in Sumner County as well, so both have solid roots in this area.

A coach’s 4th year in high school is always a special year. The SENIORS are his. He’s been their coach all the way through and he looks at that group as “family”. (and underclassmen too) There are nearly 20 seniors out and Coach is excited about this year’s prospects for this group of fine student-athletes.

“We should find success on our schedule again this year but our style will be different”, Coach Aguilar indicated.

If you will recall, our 8-3 (Regional 4A Champions) last year were a very high tempo team, a team you felt could score on just about any play. This year will be different Coach asserted, “We will be more of a grind it out, pound away, 3 ½ yds per down squad, and will run the ball more than throw it.”

But, all for good reason. Very few slots on both the Offensive Line and Defensive Line will need filling – most of last year’s starters have returned.

“We are going to be very physical on both offense and defense”, Coach stated.

Here is a quick preview, some will play both ways.

DEFENSE – basically lost 2 corners and a safety (C. Barton, D. Washington, and J. Nuss). This year’s Defense will include Kenny Fehrman, Kanden Young, Hunter Greenlee, Travese Love, Silas Popplewell, Gage Cunningham, Jake Soria, Zane Cornejo, Isaac Hilt, Zander Vargas, Nevin Gageby and others. A strong and determined group.

OFFENSE – Jake Soria, Kanden Young, Kenny Fehrman, Cameron Carter, Silas Popplewell, Travese Love, Hagen Wright, Peyton Smith, and Nevin Gageby. And, at this juncture, a couple of gentlemen trying to fill the shoes of last year’s QB Michael Ledbetter. Junior Berkeley Wright, who sat out last year, and Senior Gage Cunningham, who tore his ACL in last year’s opener at Collegiate and missed the remainder of the 2018 action, both show promise and that will all shake out as the summer progresses.

Coach Aguilar also speaks highly of Seniors Blake Rausch, Tayshaun Washington and Christian Buckman. “All 3 will get significant reps on both sides of the ball.”

Additionally, Seniors Quinton Redford, Austin Soles, Billy Walker and Tim Tracy will be on the 2019 roster. These “4” haven’t played much throughout high school, if any, but are good athletes and will more than likely be regretful by season’s end (as other late-comers in the past have been) that they hadn’t participated more through the years. Our Irondukes are a family and have grown exponentially over the past few years. Very exciting season coming up.

I asked Coach what he considered his lowest point and highest point the past 3 years, the highest point was the “family feel” that has been created and sustained. “These young men have grown up a lot and care a lot about each other, they keep each other up, they watch each other’s backs.”

The lowest point was his first season. The overall record wasn’t a big concern to Coach personally, at least not near as much as having that group of Seniors finish their HS careers, never having the opportunity to ring the bell. Coach spoke of the Winfield game and how close our Crusaders came…he also ponders still (as any good coach would), what else might they have done to get them over that hump at some point during the season. Coach cares a lot about these athletes, “I want their high school experience on and off the field to be memorable and amazing”. Coach wants them to taste how greatness can feel and perhaps someday, return home to Wellington and be a part of it all again. Coach Aguilar also realizes, “you learn how to win by winning.” The experience gained last season should benefit this season’s program immensely.

There has been one change on this year’s coaching staff. Daniel Farley stepped aside in order to place his attention and effort more on his new job with USD 353 down at Central Office. Coach Farley’s replacement is Devin Metzinger. Devin is from Ark City and has taken a position at the HS as well.

Returning coaches in addition to Coach Aguilar, are Ryan Jenkins, Tim Lira, Nick Wellington, Tonner Finch, Ryan Jenkins, and Ross Foley.

Coach Aguilar wasn’t about to forget the two most important members of the team…Managers Austin Fink and Rayce Koerner. Austin is a senior this year and is in charge of…uhhhhh, let’s see…everything! Coach speaks highly of both and is realizing Austin is going to be hard to replace next season. He’s in charge of all filming, all equipment issues, all computer programming and programming issues and more – the coaches depend on Austin and Rayce, a lot.

The New Format introduced last year for 4A Football (seedings to determine week #9 opponent, etc.) continues unchanged. 

The 2019 season opens for the IRONDUKES, here at HOME vs Collegiate. The Spartans have a new coach and you can bet they’ll be gunning for bear after we spanked them in last year’s opener there, 32-0.

SEP. 6th – Wichita Collegiate HERE – 7PM (Youth Night)
SEP. 13th - @ Andale – 7PM
SEP. 20th – Clearwater HERE – 7PM (69 State Champ-50 years)
SEP. 27th - @ Augusta – 7PM
OCT. 4th – Rose Hill HERE – 7PM (Senior Night / Homecoming)
OCT. 11th - @ Labette County – 7PM
OCT. 18th – Winfield HERE – 7PM
OCT. 25th - @ Winfield – 7PM
NOV. 1st – Bi-District Playoffs (TBD)
NOV. 8th – 4A Regional (TBD)
NOV. 15th – 4A Sectional (TBD)
NOV. 22nd – 4A Sub-State (TBD)
NOV. 30th – 4A State (TBD)

Mark your calendars – excitement awaits Crusader Fans!!

Much remains this summer, football camps for both K-5 and 7th & 8th grades are coming up the last part of July, first part of August.

*PSQ continues July 8th thru July 25th
Next week has always been a week off for the IRONDUKES and that was the original plan this summer as well. The KSHSAA Moratorium on summer workouts this summer however designated this week, state-wide, as the week ALL KSHSAA schools would take off so the earlier plans changed. Coach Aguilar had no control over that scheduling change.

*Padded Camp @ Humboldt July 19th (TBD)

*High Intensity Training July 29th thru August 8th

*OPEN Weight Room Aug. 12th, 13th & 14th 6PM-7:30PM

*Conditioning Test Aug. 17th 9AM-NOON

*Official Fall Practice begins Aug. 19th

*Saturday scrimmage Aug. 24th

*Hamburger Scrimmage Aug. 29th

As noted above, the 1st official day of practice is August 19th!!


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