WESLEY CHAPEL – You can call it whatever you want with regards to their on-the-field record over the years along with the talented transfers that have left the program looking for leaders at key positions. If you’re looking at it through the prism of Wesley Chapel’s staff and players, you can then call it “whatever” and as you just keep lining up and playing hard for each other.
Head Coach Tico Hernandez is entering his third season at the helm for the Wildcats, and he’ll be entering this season with his third starting QB in that time span. Hernandez and his team went 0-10 in his first season while posting a 2-8 record last season. The Wildcats began as a program in 1999 and in their first four seasons went over .500 four times with multiple district championships in that time. Since 2004, they’ve only finished over that even mark (minus forfeit wins) one time.
Key transfers such as Tre’ McKitty and Austin Sessums along with other key skill position transfers to Zephyrhills Christian have left the ‘Cats with more questions that an episode of Jeopardy, but the players and staff left are blissfully ignorant to the naysayers around them and could care less about what the records say.
Don’t get it twisted, they know it’s about wins and losses. It’s also about doing work in the classroom and doing what’s right when away from the public eye that’s equally important for Hernandez. “My job description still says in the that I’m supposed to make sure their grades are right, that they’re ready to graduate and that they’re also good kids off the field as well” says Hernandez with a smile…a smile that reads in the sub context of “yeah, you know? All of the OTHER stuff that goes into being a coach and a teacher (which is both essentially).”
The negatives seem to outweigh the positives by a country mile, but not-so-fast. There’s always been talent on the roster even with the highly-discussed departures. Albeit extremely young, Hernandez knows he’s got guys that are all-in with being Wesley Chapel Wildcats, and it doesn’t hurt either that he’s got a big QB that’s with unlimited potential at this point to help him get the job done in Thomas.
Thomas is just a 2017 prospect, but stands at 6-foot-4, and is working hard to get to the 200-pound threshold which he’s about ten pounds from at this point. The Wildcats will undoubtedly need him to stay healthy and continue his progression that we’ve witnessed this offseason, and with some lucky bounces the hard work this summer could pay off nicely. Granted, there isn’t any talk of undefeated or district championships on this end, but the ‘Cats could play the role of spoiler many times this fall if things get cranking.