As the New Waverly Bulldogs attempt to end a three-year playoff drought, they appear to have veteran leadership on their side.
The third week of summer football workouts got underway Monday morning, with 16 seniors — four times the size of last year’s class — and a handful of talented juniors such as quarterback Sebastine Amaro and offensive lineman Davis Schaub spurring optimism for the upcoming season.
“We've been doing football every day from 10:30-11:30 a.m., and we've had our entire offensive line and all of our backs,” New Waverly head football coach and athletics director Dean Schaub said. “With any team at any level, it's about leadership. We have 16 seniors this year, and all 16 are there. They buy in and they come — and when they come, the younger ones will come. We haven't really had that in the past, and it makes a big difference with chemistry and leadership.”
New Waverly has seen an increase in workout numbers across the board for all sports, with 85 student-athletes signed up, and daily attendance averages that range from the mid-50s to mid-60s.
“Kids have been cooped up, and I think they’ve taken advantage of any reason to get out of the house,” Schaub said. “What I like is we started week three, and on a rainy, dreary Monday, we had over 50 kids — which for a school our size is very good. I'm excited about the numbers. We've had probably three times the girls I've ever seen, and probably twice the boys. It's been great.”
It’s not only the athletes that have shown up in large numbers either. Schaub notes that more coaches have been participating in summer workouts than in previous years, resulting in better engagement from the players.
“It starts from the top,” he said. “Last year we would have 2-3 coaches come a day. Now, we're getting 10-12 a day. I think the biggest thing is the coaches are buying in — and if the kids know the coaches are 100% in, they'll be in as well.”