BOUNTIFUL — Woods Cross High's football team and coaches expected better. Second-year coach Russ Jones said the Wildcats "are a little bothered" by a 2006 overall record of 1-8 and 0-6 mark in Region 5.
"They're just young kids. We'll bounce back from it," he said. "(Players) will be ready to go next season."
Jones anticipates, "We'll keep them busy with vigorous weight-training competition and running."
Some may also play basketball, baseball or run track during the offseason, he said. The 'Cats return only two starters, who both play defense. Corey Romano is a tackle, while linebacker is played by Chandler Newsome.
With so many roster spots open on a young team, WX appears to be not only at a changing of the guard, but virtually every other position, too. Youth brings inexperience, but also enthusiasm and a fresh approach to win.
Next season may be an opportunity to change the course of history, which includes an opportunity to add to its only region title won in 1989. The 'Cats would also undoubtedly love to even out their losing state tournament record. In 2005, WX was 4-6 and fifth place in the region with a 2-4 record. The previous year, the 'Cats were 2-7 and 0-6.
Similarly, "We've not been very good the last 10 years," said athletic director Debbie Peel. "I think people are still interested in playing" football, she said. "The Little League programs don't have huge numbers, but the interest is still there."
Having improved facilities and a "credible coaching staff" also helps the program, said Peel. But there are other ways to draw fans and even prospective players, too. Peel said WX policy dictates there is no charge for Little Leaguers who wear their game jerseys to 'Cats home games, have a 2.5 GPA and show their current report card.
Adding new or improving upon existing digs included the sod installed this year at Curtis Field Stadium and a weight room now in its second year. Todd Cusick, who is responsible for the team having an ice machine, is the superfan-turned-sophomore team receivers' coach, said Jones.
Cusick "loves" his coaching position. "He knows all the kids in that area."
While Jones notes the program has struggled at times, the student-athletes are pretty typical for high school and most are responsible academically.
"It's always critical to lose" games, he said, but players "are still outstanding in my eyes. Year-to-year we deal with it" in conversations with them after school and at athletic events.
"We've struggled for numbers and wins," he said. "It's an uphill battle. We continually try to build numbers, excitement and enthusiasm."
WX has support from both inside and outside its football program, said Jones. "The community is unbelievable and so supportive since I've been there. Parents are the greatest. They think the things we're doing with the kids are great and appreciate everything" done with them.
League: 0-6, last in Region 5
State: Didn't qualify for playoffs
Aug. 18 — West 27, Woods Cross 14
Aug. 25 — Woods Cross 35, Ogden 7
Sept. 1 — Judge Memorial 28, Woods Cross 0
Sept. 8 — Sky View 40, Woods Cross 0
Sept. 15 — Mountain Crest 13, Woods Cross 0
Sept. 29 — Roy 17, Woods Cross 14
Oct. 6 — Bountiful 10, Woods Cross 7
Oct. 11 — Bonneville 24, Woods Cross 14
Oct. 20 — Box Elder 35, Woods Cross 16