Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – Six.
That’s the number of different coaches to lead the Kingman High School football team in the last 13 seasons. While each leader undoubtedly brought a different coaching style, none has succeeded in turning the Bulldogs into a winning program.
Cam Wierson is determined to change that, and the second-year head coach is aware that others want to see it too.
“I think it’s important that everyone knows this, and that I know this,” Wierson said. “We have an alumni base in this town that say ‘we used to be good at football.’ I’m fully aware of that and my kids and I are working to restore that.”
While that fact could prove to be a hindrance to some coaches, that isn’t the case for Wierson. He already sets high standards for himself.
“There’s always pressure from all kinds of different angles,” Wierson said. “I put pressure on myself, but I don’t feel that external pressure. I put enough pressure on myself as it is.”
The Bulldogs didn’t seem to be worried about outside pressure either, as they continued practice Tuesday. It was supposed to be the first day of practice with pads, but Wierson decided to make a change.
“We can get great work done without pads,” Wierson said. “We’re in helmets right now. It’s a decision I’m making not to issue gear to all the kids. I’m making them earn their gear.”
Wierson mentioned that he gave out approximately 70 helmets to athletes last year and about 25 of those players quit within a week. While it’s a different approach, Wierson knows it will bring the team together as a family.
“That’s just one of the many rites of passages that we have in our football program,” he said. “The more rigorous the rite of passage, the tighter the group is.”
That is sure to pay off for the Bulldogs as their season opener is quickly approaching. Kingman is the first team in town to lace up its cleats for an Aug. 18 contest at home against Glendale’s Joy Christian.
“There is no pressure on our kids,” Wierson said. “We’re going to play our tails off from kickoff to the end of the game, and whatever the scoreboard says is whatever the scoreboard says.”