There is a lot of talent for the Wilder football team to replace this season as four first-team all-conference players graduated off the 2020 team.
Fortunately for coach Kyle DalSoglio, the Wildcats have some depth that he can work with this season to develop players.
“We do have some depth in terms of position type groups,” said DalSoglio. “We have a lot of linemen-type guys, we have a lot of combo linebacker, tight end bigger dudes and we have quite a few skill guys. It’s nice to have some options where we can just develop kids.”
Wilder is coming off a 4-4 season, missing the state playoffs for the first time since 2015. They return three players on offense and four on defense, meaning plenty of new starters will need to step up this season.
Among the returners is senior Adrian Miramontes, an honorable mention at offensive line a season ago. DalSoglio calls Miramontes the Wildcats’ best player and suggested that he may see a variety of roles in Wilder’s offense throughout the season.
“He’s a really, really athletic kid, just unfortunately for him he’s big,” said DalSoglio. “In eight-man, you’ve got to use him as a big. But he’s our best quarterback, he’s probably got the best hands on our team, he’s really good with his feet. So, we want to move him around quite a bit this year.”
He won’t be the Wildcats’ only option under center. Senior Moises Perez, who missed half of last season with an MCL injury, is another guy who can split time at positions. Perez’s natural position is at running back, but his speed could get him some time at quarterback. Freshman Kyevan Gephart will be the quarterback of the future, DalSoglio said, and he will get some time this year, but the coach doesn’t want to throw him into the fire too quickly.
Sophomore Isaac Rodriguez is another physical runner, who DalSoglio said could also see time under center.
The quarterback position won’t be the only place Wilder has options. If he doesn’t play quarterback, Gephart will be able to contribute at receiver, DalSoglio said. Senior tight ends Jacob Sandoval and Marco Martinez will be other downfield threats for the Wildcats.
Sandoval and Martinez will also play in the defensive backfield, which DalSoglio said will be one of the strongest units on the team. Senior Hunter Onofrei will miss some time at the start of the season, as he’s attending boot camp this summer so he can enlist after graduation.
Adrian Ponce, an all-conference honorable mention in the defensive backfield last season, will give the Wildcats a tall option at cornerback. Because of his size, he could also see time at offensive guard.
“We have a lot of lineman, who are your stereotypical linemen, big guys that’s all they can do,” said DalSoglio. “But we looked at (Ponce) at guard, and he looked good at (Eastern Oregon) camp. He’s definitely going to see some offensive snaps.”
On the defensive line, Wilder has to replace a pair of first-team all-conference players in Jose Leon and Saulo Luna. But DalSoglio likes a pair of seniors he has in Miramontes at defensive end and Juan Perez at nose tackle. Add in players like sophomore Juan Jimenez, junior Isaiah Lopez and sophomore Isaac Rodgriguez and the line is another place that features depth.
At middle linebacker, DalSoglio points to sophomore Noe Anguiano as another player poised to have a breakout season.
“This kid’s going to be a stud, right away,” DalSoglio said. “He hardly got any reps last year, but he’s going to be one of those kids I believe will be something great.”