Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 | 4:20 p.m.
Chaparral High football coach Bill Froman didn’t hesitate throwing younger players into the lineup last season, knowing the growing pains experienced early in their careers could turn into a good thing.
Chaparral missed the playoffs by one game in finishing 4-5 overall, but the coach feels the program took a step in the right direction because some returning players got more than their share of varsity action.
On defense, they regularly played six sophomores and a freshman.
“We took our lumps by bringing up so many kids,” Froman said. “We knew they needed to grow up, and to their credit, they have.”
The leader of the group is sophomore linebacker Richard Hernandez, who led the Cowboys in tackles last season as a freshman to earn second-team all-league honors.
The Chaparral defense will also be led by defensive lineman Bubba Dukes (6-foot-3, 310 pounds) and safety junior Seitu Wyche.
Wyche averaged about six yards per carry last week in a scrimmage against Durango and will be the Cowboys’ feature back, Froman said. The offensive line is led by three-year starter Mark Jones (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) and Damien Gutherie (5-foot-10, 270 pounds). Jerome Williamson will be Chaparral’s starting quarterback for a second straight season.
“It is looking solid. We are getting better every day,” Williamson said. “You’ll see more teamwork, more heart out there and more speed. We have plenty of speed this year.”
Chaparral received a massive donation in the offseason to upgrade the program, giving Froman the resources to install state-of-the-art equipment in the weight room. The end result should be one of the strongest teams in the Division I-A.
“It’s night and day from last year. I think we are strong. I think we are fast,” the coach said.