Last season, Wesleyan football had a seemingly straightforward goal: Go to the Dome and win. This season, the same goal remains.
2008 marked the last time Wesleyan football held up the State Championship trophy. Last season, a move to Class A private opened the door to a state championship run. However, the Wolves were stopped short of their goal in the Elite Eight by eventual state champions Eagles Landing Christian Academy. While the Wolves undoubtedly had the skill, heart and game plan to succeed, they were simply outmatched by ELCA that night. The Wolves are certainly looking forward for their Sept. 29 rematch against the Chargers.
In the off season, the team worked extremely hard to gain the weight and physical strength necessary to compete at the highest levels. Coach Dustin Wolf gave players a SAGE lunch guide which helped them gain the necessary nutrients, protein and calories to gain muscle, while still maintaining their agility. He said it was important that the team had a “commitment to training in the spring off-season that started in January.”
The Wolves also worked hard during the summer to refine their skills and athleticism. Coach Wolf is especially impressed with the “stronger senior leadership” and their commitment to getting better.
On the field, the Wolves will have to recover from losing a talented senior class, including college commits Harrison Cook (Richmond), Callen Davidson (Davidson University), Grant Frerking (Tennessee), Adam Moon (Samford) and Ryan Weed (Johns Hopkins). However, despite losing these and other contributors, they still retain many core pieces to success.
The Wolves return 2,753 passing yards from quarterback Banks Ramsey, 1,272 rushing yards from a strong core of rising seniors, 567 receiving yards from rising senior Zach Peterson, one of the best offensive/defensive lines in the state, as well as many pieces from a defense that held opponents to an impressive 16.3 points per game last season. The team will also benefit from summer transfers Evan Fleming (defensive line) and ESPN’s 10th ranked tight end Tommy Tremble. Tremble said he will “help in any way he can” and can be an “explosive playmaker for the offense.”
With a talented roster, Coach Ed Dudley said the team is ready for a very successful season. He emphasized the strength of the passing offense with the team “moving to a pass first offense that will spread the ball around.”
Head Coach Franklin Pridgen emphasized the importance of success off the field, and his desire for football players to be “sources of strong positive leadership on campus.” On the field, his goals are to capture a region championship and then compete for a state championship. He said the team will succeed because they “have great seniors being leaders of hard work that will serve us well throughout the season.”
Their next home game is on Sept. 1 against GISA school Frederica Academy of St. Simon’s, Georgia. The entire Wesleyan team has worked all off-season to take the next step and contend for a state title.
As Coach Dudley said, the team “expects success.