For football teams with a championship mindset, the grind never stops. Right now, a number of springs teams at the developmental football level are off until the fall, but not the Leander Wolfpack. They are working to make another leap forward in 2020.
“The guys that are returning are already training two to three times per week,” Wolfpack co-owner Mark Rogers told The Gridiron Grind. “They have gym and coach access, then they hit the field at least once a week on Saturday’s. That’s the time for new recruits to come out and join and see what our culture is about.”
In addition to working on their craft and keeping their bodies in shape, the Wolfpack have also hosted youth camps with the Round Rock Youth Football Association and Vikn Sports Youth Football this summer.
“In their downtime they are still training and giving back to the communities,” Rogers said.
Leander will host an official combine on Nov. 2, when practice for the 2020 season officially begins, but recruits are highly encouraged to register online and jump into training with the team, which finished 9-3 this year.
“Like I told the guys, anybody with a championship mindset, your goal is to compete and finish at the highest level possible,” Rogers said. “Sometimes there’s a bad taste in your mouth if you don’t finish first. Regardless of whatever league you’re in, whether 10 teams, 25, or 32 teams, there can only be one champion. But, to go from a 6-win to a 9-win team shows we’re doing something right.”
Of the three losses for the Wolfpack, two were to the defending champions, the San Antonio Titans and one to the eventual champion, the Texas Colts.
“Even though it’s a tough pill to swallow, it gives us hope going forward as we continue to build this program,” Rogers said.
The Wolfpack have already committed to return to the Texas United Football Association again next season as they strive for a higher mark than 2019.
“Aside from the win-loss column, one thing I really applaud the guys on is the relationships we’ve built in the community and that’s going to help the team in the years to come,” Rogers said.
Leander concluded its 2019 campaign with a banquet and awards ceremony to recognize some of the key cogs from this past season’s squad.
To no surprise, Wanya Ward was named Team MVP. Ward led the team with more than 1,000 total yards between rushing, receiving and his return duties. What was even more impressive was how he did it.
“He only played in seven games and only started in six,” Rogers said. “His ability to find the end zone was very huge for us. After looking at the numbers, it looks like our offense was the highest scoring offense in the league during the regular season, which kind of showed.
Two Wolfpack receivers eclipsed the 600-yard mark and their back-up quarterback, who assumed the starting role early on, threw for 27 touchdowns. The Offensive MVP award went to running back Eddie Bailey Jr., who rushed for more than 700 yards and beat his own rushing records from 2018 on fewer carries.
Defensive lineman Taylor Wright took home the Defensive MVP award, rankings in the top three in the tackles, sacks and tackles for losses categories.
“He was second on the team in sacks,” Rogers said. “He was the defensive lineman that teams figured out they could not run at. He drew attention everywhere he went.”
Omar Mamoe took home the award for Most Improved Player, and for good reason.
“At the beginning of the season, he was in rotation, but by the end of the season he was a full-fledged all-star on the defensive line,” Rogers said. “Starter and All-Star.”
Last but not least, Carlos Woolery took home the Rookie of the Year award for leading the team in interceptions and tackles.
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