Young Warrior Football Team Comes Back Strong Looking for Another Trip to Gillette

Braedyn Melle, Staff Writer

After returning from one of, if not the best, football seasons in Wahconah history, Wahconah has some weight on their shoulders. The 2021 Wahconah football team made an appearance in the State Championship game after an undefeated season. They were led by a very athletic then senior class. The team was led by captains Ryan Scott, Ben Noyes, Wyatt George, and all-state running back Jonah Smith. But this team had a line full of seniors who contributed. That included Brad Noyes, David Streibel, Luke Diccico, Scotty Duma, Ashley Chaffee, Ben West, and Owen Alfonso. This senior-filled team made a very impressive run that will never be forgotten. For most teams, this is a problem: having so many starters who will be gone the next year. But for Wahconah, that wasn’t. Coach Gary Campbell Jr. doesn’t just focus on the starters. He gets every single kid on his team the same amount of practice. This is what makes Wahconah successful year after year. This year was no different. It was definitely a drastic change, coming from an 11-1 state championship finalist year. Before the season, there was some talk about how this year’s team was too young or how they’d lost everyone. The new Warriors had some spots to fill in with a lot of pressure to do so.

Blowing out every team last year caused the other teams to have Wahconah circled on their schedule. The Warriors knew that and still came out strong. Captains Owen Salvatore, Lucas Pickard, Doug Collins, and Zander Walton are who led the bus this year. They started the season with a huge win at BCC against their rivals PHS. This gave them the confidence to face the tough Lee Wildcats on their home field with a blowout win. The First home game was the next Friday against Taconic, resulting in a 47-22 win. The Warriors started 3-0 with three huge county matchup wins. They now had their Suburban South matchups, starting with undefeated East Longmeadow. East Longmeadow was, no doubt, a very tough team to beat. The Warriors knew that and were unable to pull out a win. This was the first loss in the regular season since 2019. The Warriors bounced back with anger and won the next two games against undefeated Agawam and the Hurricanes of Amherst.

The Warriors then had to travel to Northampton and play the Blue Devils. The Blue Devils were ready for Wahconah, and they knew what we were bringing. After a season full of Jesse Chapman fades, the Blue Devils had that locked down. Noah Poirier, Payton Shippee, and Doug Collins ran hard and fought. Owen Salvatore and Jayden Speth ran their routes, but the defense was there. The Warriors are now 5-2 and have one regular season game left against West Springfield. As of now, Wahconah is ranked 7th in the D7 rankings. The Warriors can win their last game against the tough Terriers and keep their 7th-seed ranking, giving them their home playoff game. The Warriors are still here and are on their way to another State Championship.