The Wellington High School Crusader football team is excited to play before the home crowd in its first game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 at Sellers Park in an important league game against Wichita Collegiate, Head Football Coach Zane Aguilar said.

“I know these seniors have been playing together for a very long time,” Aguilar said. “I know that’s going to be an exciting time for them. It goes by so fast. 

The Crusaders are going into this first game with a “full head of steam,” Aguilar said.

“This first game is a league game so if we want to try to get a banner hung we have to win this game,” Aguilar said. “If we don’t beat Collegiate then it’s gonna be tough to do a lot of things.” 

WHS can compete with any team on its schedule. It’s just going to come down to creating turnovers on defense, putting some drives together on offense and eliminating mistakes, Aguilar said.

“We need to take care of what we're gonna do and the rest will work itself out,” Aguilar said 

Several players with varsity experience will be returning this year and the team’s strength is probably going to be our offense and defensive line, Aguilar said. 

“Going into collegiate last year we were worrying if we were gonna have a line and that's kind of a scary thought so this year it’ll be kind of reverse,” Aguilar said. “Those guys are all coming back so we have some experience there and it's going to be exciting to see those guys fly around early.” 

There are two players striving for the quarterback position Friday night - Gage Cunningham and Berkeley Wright.  

Offensively returning starters include Kenny Fehrman Kanden Young, Jake Soria and Travese Love one of the tight ends. “He moved over to the offense side of the ball he’s gonna be a play maker for us this year,” Aguilar said. “Silas Popplewell is another returning starter on the other side of the tight end.”

Zander Vargas and Isaac Hilt , who saw some carries last year at tailback are returning. Trace Rusk will come in at times to give some guys a break. Zane Conejos has been playing some fullback and Christian Buckman and Tashawn Washington are returning as receivers. 

“Defensively it’s going to be the same guys,” Aguilar said. “Kenny and Camden will be inside tackles. Travese Love and Silas Popplewell would be your your defensive ends behind them. Isaac Hilt and Zane Cornejo are your Linebackers who have been playing there for three years and there's a battle between Gage Cunningham and Trace Rusk at that other linebacker position.”

Karston Gill is in his third year kicking for the Crusaders. “We’ll look for him to possibly score some points kicking field goals and things like that.”

The team is good, not only because they have talent, but because they’re friends who have stuck together, Aguilar said. “They care about each other, they want each other to be successful That bond and that friendship - it’s huge.”

Regarding the important game, Aguilar said, “win or lose we have to bounce back or push forward.” 

Aguilar expects to see Sellers Park full this Friday. 

“Our town does love coming to a football game it's a great opportunity for the community to get together and support these individuals,” he said. “We want them to have great memories.”