Chaparral football off to undefeated start to the season
WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The last time Chaparral football had a winning season was in 2018. Since then, the Roadrunner program has seen numbers drop and coaches shuffled around.
This season, Chaparral is off to a 5-0 start, surprising everyone, including first year head coach JC Zahradnik.
It all changed this past off season.
“We had a good group of core guys that started in January who really decided they were tired of getting kicked in the teeth,” said head coach JC Zahradnik.
“The culture’s different, I guess. Definitely during the summer we put in a lot of work. We had more attendance than we had the last two years,” mentioned senior wide receiver and defensive end Kaden Harding.
Coach Zahradnik said they only lost three seniors from last year’s team. So he attributes the growth of this team to the leadership and experience that came back.
“We had a bunch of guys who played a ton varsity as freshman and sophomores so we knew we were going to have some older guys,” said Zahradnik. “Finally have a football team full of juniors and seniors as opposed to freshmen and sophomores.”
Junior running back and middle linebacker, Austin Clark recollected, ”It’s probably the most leadership I’ve ever seen on one of my own football teams. If we’re not playing to our higher expectations, they’ll count on us and they’ll bring us back up.”
After three years of assistant coaching at Chaparral, players said coach Zahradnik has brought a new mindset to the team, all within his first year as head coach.
“He’s been really excited and with his excitement pushing onto us, we’ve been really excited,” said Clark. “Because he used to go to chaparral, he knows how it is to be a roadrunner.”
Harding said, “Our saying is next play. We don’t doubt each other. If someone messes up, next play, get over it.”
Other than a stronger work ethic, the Roadrunners said their well balanced offense, whether it be running or passing the ball, has been a key to their success this year.
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