Aug 31, 2023

Wabaunsee Looks to Continue Building Program After Historic Season

Posted Aug 31, 2023 12:33 AM

Lead Sportswriter - Salina Post

On the heels of a historic 2022 campaign, the Wabaunsee football team will be eager to get back under the Friday night lights when the 2023 season kicks off this week.

A year ago, the Chargers took their program to new heights, rounding out their campaign with a 9-2 record and punching their first-ever ticket to the Class 1A state quarterfinals.

While many teams in Wabaunsee’s situation would be content with a very impressive flash in the pan, the Charger's focus is on building a lasting tradition of excellence on the gridiron, one this year’s class will look to take up and continue.

“These players know that we want to continue raising the standard of our program,” Charger head coach Jess Rutledge said. “It’s been a great climb, and we still have a long road ahead of us, but I can say this with certainty: this is not the program it used to be and people have taken notice, now it’s time to keep grinding.”

Wabaunsee returns a little over half of their starting lineup from that record-setting team, with six starters back on each side of the ball.

The centerpiece on offense will be the return of senior signal caller Wyatt Wurtz, who became the second Charger quarterback in as many years to collect all-league honors.

Wurtz threw for just shy of 1,500 yards and racked up 19 touchdowns, adding another 594 yards and 13 more scores on the ground.

Filling out the all-senior backfield is running back Zach Frank, who averaged over six yards per carry for Wabaunsee in 2022.

Wurtz will also have several of his favorite targets back as the Chargers retain the services of a pair of all-league wideouts in Miguel Hernandez and Wyatt Gehrt, and add junior Carson Reves back from injury.

In the trenches, Wabaunsee will see their O-Line anchored by a trio of multi-year starters in Tate Deever, Jude Meseke, and Brody Drogemeier, who will slot in alongside senior Blake Murphy, also making his return from a season-ending injury.

On defense, the Chargers will be led up front by returning defensive end Alex Beggs and DT Jude Meseke, while Zach and Cole Frank anchor the linebacking corps alongside Tate Deever.

And finally patrolling the secondary are Wyatt Gehrt, Miguel Hernandez, Carson Reves, and Wyatt Wurtz, who will look to employ his knowledge of the quarterback position against opponents from his spot at cornerback.

Despite returning so much talent, several newcomers will have a big role to play on this team, especially amidst a schedule that features several heavy hitters like Troy and Smith Center.

Wabaunsee will kick off the new campaign on Friday, September 1st when they host Troy, seeking revenge on the Trojans.