The last time the Leander Wolfpack played a football game, the NCAA Basketball Tournament hadn’t yet started, the Alliance of American Football was still a thing and Americans still hadn’t set their clocks an hour forward for the time change.
For the fans, it’s been a long month, but for the Wolfpack, who are riding a four-game winning streak, a month off feels like an eternity.
“I don’t like having bye weeks when you’ve got momentum,” Wolfpack co-owner Mark Rogers told Developmental Football USA.
“This game this week will be a month. The last game we had was March 16, this one will be played on April 13. The tension is high with the guys, they are super frustrated that they haven’t been able to play. This is an outlet for a lot of guys, they are frustrated and ready to get back to work.”
Last weekend, the Wolfpack was scheduled to travel to San Antonio to face the Lone Star Bandits, but the home team chose to reschedule it for May 18 due to the weather forecast.
“I tried every trick in the book and pulled every string to try to get that game played, but it was out of our control,” Rogers said.
This Saturday, assuming all goes as planned, Leander will face the newly-formed San Antonio Texans, which are currently an independent team, not affiliated with any league.
“We were supposed to play the River City Stampede, which was a team that was removed from the league for not fulfilling financial obligations, to my knowledge,” Rogers said.
To honor their facilities contract with the Leander ISD, the Wolfpack had already paid for the game against the Stampede. So, when news got to Rogers that the Stampede wouldn’t be coming, it made sense to fill the hole left in their schedule.
“I reached out to some TUFL teams and CRAFL teams, I reached out to basically everybody that I could,” Rogers said. “The Texans are basically a rebranding of the Stampede who we were supposed to play anyways. I can’t confirm officially but I believe it is a combination of two teams, the Texas Showtime and the Stampede.”
If the game were played on paper, the Wolfpack would certainly be heavy favorites, considering their blowout against the Showtime and past games between the Stampede and common opponents. However, Leander has shown maturity and poise all season that suggests they will not be overlooking the Texans.
“We’re in a situation where we don’t know 100 percent what we’re going to get, we just have to guess,” Rogers said.
Despite not having a game for practically one full month, Roger said his players have been “consistent with their film study, with their conditioning and they’ve put their work in in practice.”
During the break, Wanya Ward has really caught Rogers’ attention and could see an increased role for the remainder of the season.
“He’s one individual that came on late,” Rogers said. “He had a good game against Coastal Bend. We used him on special teams – he’s an excellent punter and he’s really had an opportunity to get reps on offense, so I’ll be be looking for him to make some big plays.”
After the Texans, the Wolfpack will host the Crusaders then the Bandits, before traveling to take on the Southeast Texas Titans. Then they’ll return home for another shot at the defending champions, San Antonio Titans, before finishing out their regular season with the make-up game against the Bandits.
“Right now we’re looking at six straight games,” Rogers said. “I hate that we had to reschedule, but it does allow us to get healthier. Our quarterback that was hurt Week 1 should be back late or in the playoffs. We’re just excited to hit someone in a different colored jersey again, it’s like the season is starting over. We’ve got six in a row now.”
Credit to the coaching staff for keeping the team focused and minimizing distractions while their season was delayed. Saturday, it’s time to get back to business and Leander looks to pick up right where they left off.
“I think the guys particularly, the captains and the leadership have done a pretty good job of taking ownership of the opportunities to get better,” Rogers said. “Practice numbers have still been pretty solid the last couple of weeks. One thing I’m proud of is their long-term thinking. It’s not just about this game, but about the run we can put together for the rest of the season.”