As the seconds ticked away Friday, the realization kicked in that Chris Waca was about to make history with his first victory as head coach at Falcon.
“Our kids have been hungry for some time now, and I thought it was just a matter of time,” Waca said. “The kids have worked very hard over the past few months, getting prepared, and have really bought in with a new system coming in. They had a rough go in the first week (27-12 loss to Pueblo Central) and the second week (14-13 loss at Air Academy), they came up just short. This time, they put it all together.”
Waca, a lifelong native of Illinois, had last coached a team to victory in 2012 at Kewanee, where he spent four seasons before taking an assistant role the past five years at Plano.
He got his start in 1998 at Downers Grove North, then later spent two years at Princeton, his high school alma mater.
“It was just time to leave Illinois,” Waca said. “Once I came out here in April and met the kids, administration and faculty and saw the mountains, I fell in love with the place.”
The Falcons’ 30-9 win over Cheyenne Mountain also snapped a six-game home losing streak dating back to the 2016 season and marked the program’s first homecoming victory in five years.
Eight-game winning streak has Discovery Canyon volleyball rolling
Looking back, Discovery Canyon’s season-opening loss to Erie served as an early wakeup call for a program that made history in 2017 by reaching the 4A state volleyball tournament for the first time.
The Thunder haven’t lost since.
In its last match Sept. 11, Discovery Canyon dropped the first two sets at D’Evelyn, then rallied to take the next three to stretch its winning streak to eight games.
“I think sometimes, it helps to lose one early,” sixth-year Thunder coach Melissa Bravo said. “After that match, we had a heart-to-heart talk and said we had worked too hard to not play good volleyball. After that, we’ve had much more focus. Our long-term goal is to get to state again; that’s where we want to be.”
The Thunder, who have won 19 of 22 sets since the opener, return home this week for the first time since the Erie match against Woodland Park on Tuesday and TCA on Thursday.
Ground game has its way for Widefield in close loss at Centaurus
Despite a last-minute, 34-30 loss at Centaurus on Friday, Widefield saw encouraging signs from its running game.
Senior Frankie Ingraldi exploded for a career high 255 yards on 36 carries and scored twice behind a retooled offensive line that starts two sophomores.
“It starts with our offensive line,” Gladiators coach Nic Olney said. “The line has already grown up, and against Centaurus, they just took that game over. I wish the result would have been different. Anytime you have a kid with 255 yards, you’re almost guaranteed a win.”
Ingraldi, who had rushed for a then-career-best 143 yards in a loss to Wheat Ridge on Sept. 7, seems to be filling the void left by TJ Davis, the team’s leader in passing and rushing in 2017.
“No one works harder than him, and he came in this summer with a chip on his shoulder,” Olney said. “He wanted to prove to himself and his teammates that he’s our best offensive player. He’s a two-year captain who’s looked up to and respected on and off the field.”
The improving rushing effort comes at a good time as Widefield meets its District 3 rival Mesa Ridge in the annual rivalry game on Saturday at C.A. Foster Stadium.
CSCS gets familiar face to lead boys’ basketball program
Colorado Springs Christian School turned to a familiar face in Mason Young to take the reins of the boys’ basketball program.
That’s because Young, the current high school principal, coached the Lions from 2007-11 before stepping away as Mark Engesser guided the program the past seven seasons, highlighted by back-to-back 3A state crowns in 2015-16.
Engesser continues to coach the girls’ program, a post he’s held since 2014 with berths in the state championship game the past two seasons.
Young has also previously coached the school’s football and girls’ basketball programs as well.