SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Walker Wildcats

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Walker Wildcats
Walker Wildcats (Source: WAFB)

WALKER, La. (WAFB) - The Walker Wildcats are stop No. 23 for Sportsline Summer Camp.

Maybe more important than any other aspect of a coaching change is the logistical side of things - like practice drills, organization, and efficiency. Second-year Walker head coach Chad Mahaffey said all of that has improved dramatically in his second offseason with the Wildcats. His players said the same.

SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Walker Wildcats - Part 1
SPORTSLINE SUMMER CAMP: Walker Wildcats - Part 2

“They’ve done a lot of these things,” said Mahaffey. “So, again, all that kind of builds on itself and we should certainly be farther ahead at this time than we were a year ago.”

“We feel more comfortable with him because we know he just wants the best for us,” said senior defensive tackle Zach Zimm. “Last year, we were new to him. And we didn’t really know him like that. This year, he’s with us and we’re with him. I think we’re going to do good.”

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned with Coach Mahaffey at the helm here?

“If you don’t work hard, you’re not going to get anything done,” answered senior center Garret Wilson.

The team finished 2019 with an 8-4 record, making it to the second round of the playoffs where the Wildcats lost to eventual champion Acadiana.

“That was a building block for us,” said senior linebacker and defensive end Braylan Lewis. “Really, we all came together more and realized if we all come together and work as a team, we’ll go farther. And we did.”

On offense, the team returns three starters on the offensive line but will be breaking in a new quarterback and new running backs. But it’s no secret the top offensive threat is senior wide receiver Brian Thomas.

“It’s just all with the help of my teammates,” said Thomas. “They’re out there making the good blocks and I just try to do the best I can do. I feel like with teams doubling me, it will open up more catches for Payton, Jayden, and Jasper.”

“He’s just a comforting player to have out there. He’s going to force attention from defenses. So, whether you’re getting him the ball or using him to get someone else open, he adds a lot,” Mahaffey explained.

During Mahaffey’s first season, the Wildcats won their first playoff game in 20 years, a first-round 63-21 drubbing over Thibodaux.

Our camera was there Tuesday, July 7 to capture the team working during its “practice day” on the game field. Walker returns six starters on offense and just three on defense. However, the Wildcats said they have good depth and experience at every position.

Walker has four guys competing to be the new starting quarterback. Whoever is behind center will have the luxury of throwing to blue chip wide receiver Brian Thomas. He and some of his teammates said they’ve grown plenty over the last year.

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