Waxahachie Indians head football coach David Ream faces a daunting task during this year’s spring football practices – rebuilding.
“It’s been going OK,” Ream said about the practices. “We are getting stuff figured out right now. We are working with the kids on the fundamentals and getting a lot of work done.”
Ream, along with the rest of the coaching staff, will have to replace 15 of 22 starters from last year’s team, which won its fifth district title in six years.
The senior-laden squad finished its campaign with a 9-2 record, which concluded with Copperas Cove ending Waxahachie’s playoff run for the second consecutive season.
The process of filling the voids left by the departing seniors has already begun, with the Indians participating in offseason workouts.
“We are not at that point yet,” Ream said about finding new starters. “We are about halfway through that process.”
The Indians started spring football practice on April 16.
With many holes to fill on both sides of the ball, the most crucial position to fill will be at quarterback. The Indians are looking to find out who will replace two-time district 15-4A MVP quarterback Boomer Collins.
“We’ve been very fortunate at the quarterback position during my time here,” Ream said. “We have some good candidates now. They are poised for the opportunity, but aren’t proven yet.”
Venique Benton, Cody Martin, Sam Gagliano, Kelbey Rash and Neiman Fletcher are all anxious to fill Collins’ cleats, but Ream is hesitant to proclaim who will be the starting quarterback.
“It’s wide open,” he said about the quarterback vacancy. “Plus, we are also looking to find our backup and third string QBs too.”
On the offensive side of the ball, all four of the Indians’ returning starters are on the offensive line.
Among the returnees are Taylor McCulloch and Ethan Anguiano, as well as tight end Drew Harrison.
The rest of the skill positions will be filled with newcomers as running back Dominique Carson and wide receiver Ryan Wilson, both first team all-district selections, are scheduled to graduate in May.
“Most of our skill positions will be coming up through the junior varsity,” Ream said. “We will have a little more speed than last year’s team, which should help us make some big plays.”
The Indians head coach is hoping the experience of the offensive line will be enough to help the rest of the offense transition to the varsity level, which was opposite of what happened last year.
“Last year, we were inexperienced at our offensive line,” Ream said. “This year, they will be our anchor.”
On the defensive end, the Indians are still planning to base out of the 3-4 scheme, which may also include a 4-3 lineup from time to time.
First team all-district linebacker Kaleb Ott and second team all-district lineman Ryan White will be counted on to take over for Gary Mason Jr.
Mason, District 15-4A Co-Defensive Player of the Uear, who will also graduate next month, will attend Baylor University on a football scholarship.
With only three returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, Ream knows he will need to find plenty of new talent.
“This gives us, as coaches, a chance to look at other kids,” Ream said. “And it gives us a chance to see who can fill what holes we have. The competition has been good. It’s motivated the kids to get out there and work hard.”
The Indians coaching staff should have an idea of what they have by the culmination of 18 spring football practices, which end with the annual Green vs. White football game May 8.
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