With only eight seniors, Wolverines’ football sets the stage for a young team


Staff Photo by Max Rubino

Varsity Wakefield football players on the field ready to compete against Northern Durham. Wolverines dominated the game and shutout Northern Durham, 24-0.

Emily Dudash and Angie Lee

In the 20 years since their founding, the Wakefield varsity football team has yet to win a state championship – in fact, they haven’t won a conference championship in nearly a decade. While some may see this as a setback, the football program embraces this as an opportunity to take advantage of the exceptional underclassmen that constitute the junior varsity (JV) team. With only eight seniors this season, the varsity football team sets the stage for a young team with an eye on the Wolverines’ first conference title in 10 years.

Brennan Davis, a senior who starts as both defensive back and wide receiver, is one of the few returning players. In his four years on the varsity team, he is no stranger to the endeavors the Wolverines have had to overcome. For Davis, this season is not exempt from adversity. With almost an entirely new team, Wakefield stands at 2-5 as they head into conference play in the upcoming weeks.

“We’re obviously not where we want to be,” Davis said. “But with only seven returners on varsity, we’re making [the most] of what we have.”

However, during his time he has also witnessed the successes the program has acquired. The most recent success is found within a historically underestimated group: the freshmen. 

“The underclassmen resemble what it really means to be a team,” Davis said. 

The camaraderie of the underclassmen has evidently had an influence: the JV team is 3-4, and has high hopes for the future.

But Davis isn’t the only one who observes the impact a tight bond can have on a team. Elijah Alston, a freshman and captain of the JV team, credits the positive team dynamic to the friendships that resonate within. 

“After games, we’ll always come together,” Alston said. “We talk about what went wrong and how we can improve our performance next week.”

For Alston, who starts on the JV team as a running back and cornerback, a vacant crowd can influence the performance of players.

“It’s lame playing to empty stands,” Alston said. “If everyone [came] to the JV games, we would have more [motivation].”

The underclassmen resemble what it really means to be a team.

— Davis

Donte James, a sophomore who starts on varsity as a right back, can attest to this.

“I’ve been to all the JV games,” James said. “They’re a lot of fun and I wish people would realize [that].”

After years spent coaching Wakefield Middle School football, Joseph Richardson made his transition to the high school, where he serves as head coach of JV football. Richardson equates the JV Wolverines’ success with their grit during games and practices.

“They’re staying in the course as far as what’s laid before them, being on time as far as practice scheduling and just staying focused.” Richardson said.

Although the JV team shows good sportsmanship and stats in favor of the future of Wakefield football, conflicts are hard to avoid and something they will come across whether they want it to or not. Davis leaves behind inspiring and applicable advice for the underclassmen.

“I want the JV team to learn from the varsity team that things will go wrong,” Davis said. “But you just got to keep pushing through, and just be great.”