This year’s Wakefield football team will be very different than last season’s, but head coach Rod Sink says the Wolverines will stick to a similar style of play.
With the standout duo of quarterback Connor Mitch (South Carolina) and wide receiver Jordan Fieulleteau (North Carolina), who led the area in passing and receiving, respectively, departed for college, Wakefield is left with just one returning starter on offense after an 11-2 (6-1 Cap Eight) showing last season.
The Wolverines, one of the area’s top offensive powers, passed for more than 350 yards per game, but that may not be the case this season.
“We’re going to be very different. I think everyone knows it,” Sink said. “Team wise we’re going to try to do the same things we did last year. We may not throw it 50 times a game, but we’re going to run a similar style offense.”
Senior Evan Braband is expected to step into the role of quarterback for the Wolverines, though senior Jake Butler and sophomore Marius Cooper are also in the mix for the position, Sink said.
While there will likely be outside pressure for Braband to fill the shoes of Mitch, who etched his name in the N.C. High School Athletic Association record books by passing for more than 12,000 career yards and 153 touchdowns, Sink said he’s discussed the new role with the senior.
“I’ve had the conversation with Evan,” Sink said. “They’re your shoes. You don’t have to fill anybody’s shoes.”
Sink, entering his second year as head coach after moving up from offensive coordinator, said the Wolverines will continue to play an uptempo game.
Junior Kelton Whitehead, who led the Wolverines in rushing last year with 55.7 yards per game, will return, as well as top contributors Mike Shelton and Nick Dennis, who will chip in on defense and at receiver.
While Wakefield touted one of the top offenses last season, the Wolverines sometimes struggled on defense.
The Wolverines fell 52-24 at Leesville Road in the middle of conference play, and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Garner, 76-34.
They return four starters from last year’s defensive squad that allowed nearly 30 points per game. Sink says the team will switch to an even front this year in hopes of better success.
The first few weeks will be important for the young Wolverines team, Sink said, as he looks for several players to step up and prove themselves.
“If we start off well and have success, that will be good for us,” Sink said. “Most people aren’t expecting much from us and that’s fine.”