Head Coach: Kevin Stilling, 10th year
2017 Record: 2-7 (1-4 4A Great Basin Conference)
Wood River's fortunes changed quickly following its conference title-winning campaign in 2016. Prior to the 2017 season, coach Kevin Stilling said the Wolverines had no returning starters, given that one of them had torn his ACL and the other two remaining were changing positions.
Bereft of much experience, the 8-2 Wolverines of 2016 flopped into the 2-7 team that struggled in 2017. They were shut out twice and failed to give their conference foes too much trouble.
"Last year, we were missing leadership," junior wide receiver/linebacker Brandon Uhrig said. "We didn't have a winning mentality."
That was all part of the learning curve for a young group of Wolverines primed to improve this season. Junior quarterback Andrew Nelson returns with a full year of starting under his belt. His protection will be key, anchored by four linemen all entering their second or third years as starters in the trenches.
As far as lacking a winning mentality, Uhrig is confident that trait is in the past for the Wolverines.
"This year, I can already tell that the mentality has stepped up," Uhrig said. "Some of the older kids have stepped up, and it's feeling pretty good."
In front of Nelson, most of the Wood River offensive line is back, which senior lineman Klayton Douthit said is key in terms of experience on the field, wisdom they can impart on less experienced players and chemistry.
That team bond is strong, Douthit said. After last season, the Wolverines would get together and lift before school. During the summer, sometimes they'd have two lifting sessions per day.
"Throughout the summer, I think we've been preparing a lot more than we did for last year's season," Douthit said.