Head coach: Chad Martinez
First year with Tigers
Last season: 5-6 overall, 4-2 SSL
Playoffs: Lost in D-IV first round
History: League titles (9); Section titles (3)
Assistant coaches: Jeff Wedel, offensive coordinator; Nacho Martinez, running backs; Joe Dominguez, offensive line; Kyle Wedel, quarterbacks; Mikey Martinez, linebackers; Nick Saldana, defensive line; Alex Gallardo, defensive line
Aug. 17 - at Tehachapi
Aug. 24 - BYE
Aug. 31 - vs. Madera South
Sept. 7 - at North
Sept. 14 - at McFarland*
Sept. 21- vs. Delano
Sept. 28 - vs. Kennedy*
Oct. 5 - at Chavez*
Oct. 12 - vs. Arvin*
Oct. 19 - at Taft*
Oct. 26 - vs. Shafter*
Osmar Velez, senior, OL, DL - Velez is seen by head coach Chad Martinez as a strong and fast player in the trenches. A workout warrior, Velez is benching over 300 pounds and beating some of the skill players in sprints. Hard-working and dependable, he leads by example.
Noah McClain, senior, RB/FS - Converted from linebacker to the secondary, McClain expects to use his 6-foot frame, speed and knowledge of the defense to lead the Tigers on that side of the ball.
Elias Salinas, sophomore, RB - Will be a part of a backfield by committee along with Noah McClain, Joel Rocha and Christian Alvarez. There are high expectations to continue Wasco’s successful tradition of running the football with this core for years to come.
Wilbur Tovar, senior, OL/DL - One of the few guys on the team that can compete with Velez in the weight room, Tovar is expected to contribute to the offensive line and the team's running game as a whole.
That was one of the first words out of the mouth of new Wasco head coach Chad Martinez leading up to this season.
Martinez spent a good portion of last season as interim head coach after his predecessor, Rick Stewart, stepped down after being diagnosed with leukemia. That included a 44-7 loss to Shafter, so Martinez already knows the passion and tradition of Kern County's longest rivalry, one that will be awaiting its 92nd meeting in October.
However, this time around the 2011 Fresno State graduate will have a full offseason under his belt to prepare his team.
“Early on I set four goals for this team. Beat Shafter, win league, win Valley, win state. So the expectation is always to beat Shafter and everything else will fall into place,” Martinez said.
The Tigers won’t host Division IV semifinalist Shafter until the final game of the season, but if they do find a way to win then the path to their other goals will look very clear for this senior-heavy squad.
With Martinez taking over the reins, changes were made in the regimen and philosophy of the team during his first full offseason. The first thing Martinez did was get his players more accustomed to the weight room.
Martinez began a training program for his players and has them spend more time lifting. He also found ways to bring the players closer together with various methods of team bonding to allow them, along with the coaching staff, to have some fun and provide a positive outlook on the season ahead.
“We have something called the ‘Constitution,’ where everybody has to remember something and it helped bring us closer together,” senior lineman Osmar Velez said.
While Wasco is also known for its smash-mouth, run-first style of offense, expect some changes in the Tigers playbook in 2018.
“We’re opening up the offense a little bit just to allow us to do some things. We have a lot of key players in some spots that can do some things that Wasco High isn’t exactly known for,” Martinez said. “Defensively, we’ve simplified our (scheme) to allow our players to play fast in space so we are in good spots everywhere.”