Reagan hasn’t won a district title every year since Coach David Wetzel took over the program in 2004. It just seems that way.
The Rattlers have been district champions four times and shared another crown in 11 seasons under Wetzel, who guided Reagan to its first playoff berth in 2006. The Rattlers finished fourth in District 26-5A that year, but made it all the way to the state quarterfinals in Wetzel’s third season. Reagan has advanced to the postseason seven of the eight years since then, and has reached the state quarterfinals five times with Wetzel at the helm.
With senior running back/safety Skyler Wetzel, the coach’s second of three sons, and junior quarterback Kellen Mond returning this season, the Rattlers are solid favorites to win their third consecutive district championship and make another deep playoff run.
“We’ve won so many district championships and won so many games that it’s an expectation now,” Skyler Wetzel said. “If we don’t win a district championship we haven’t done what we set out to do, and that’s what we work for,” Skyler Wetzel said. “That’s what we want to do again this year. As an individual, as a player, I just want to be the best leader I can be for my teammates.
Reagan went undefeated in district for the second year in a row and finished 12-2 last season, losing to Judson in the Class 6A Division I state quarterfinals.
Wetzel rushed for 805 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, but will start at safety this season. Wetzel was a starting cornerback as a sophomore and began his junior season at safety before getting moved to running back in the third game of the campaign. Wetzel started the playoff game against Judson at running back, but moved to safety after the Rattlers’ second possession.
Mond, a classic dual-threat quarterback who has committed to Baylor, accounted for nearly 3,000 yards in total offense as a sophomore last year. He completed 139 of 232 passes, with four interceptions, for 1,175 yards and 20 touchdowns, and rushed for 1,142 yards on 165 carries, a 6.93 average, and 14 TDs.
“I categorize myself as a pocket passer, but it’s good to have a little mobility,” Mond said, understating his running ability. “It definitely keeps the defense on their toes. It can help a lot whenever you can run the read option, and also have the ability to throw the ball.”
Reagan blue-chip quarterback Kellen Mond racked up nearly 3,000 yards in total offense as a sophomore last season. One of the best athletes on the team, Mond is also a track standout at Reagan. He ran the anchor leg on the 1,600-meter relay that won the goal medal at the Region IV-6A Meet and qualified for state.
“Kellen takes a lot of pride in what he does,” Wetzel said. “He’s a hard worker in the weight room. He’s a hard worker at all the things that we do. He’s not a guy that takes himself out of a drill. If we’re going to do mat drills in the offseason, he’s right there fighting with everybody else.
“He’s not a super vocal guy, but he’s got a very quiet confidence. Everybody likes him. They will follow him. I think his best attribute is his cool, collected demeanor. It’s been extremely refreshing to work with somebody like him. He’s got a bull’s-eye on his chest, just like our team does. We know that people are gunning for us. He likes that challenge. There’s no doubt about that.”
Coach Wetzel described Mond, who is 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, as a “pocket passer that can run.” Always striving to improve, Mond has clearly defined individual goals.
“I want to work better with my receivers,” Mond said. “I want to make my teammates better by being a better quarterback, and lead them on a long playoff run.”
Skyler Wetzel and Mond expressed confidence Reagan can build on their success last season, when the Rattlers made another strong bid to advance to the state semifinals for the first time in school history.
“This is a special team. We’ve got special goals,” Skyler said. “We’re sick of getting to the quarterfinals and losing. We’ve never been past the quarterfinals and we want to be the first team to do that. We have that goal in mind and we’re not going to be satisfied unless we get past the quarterfinals this year.”
Mond attended several camps this summer, including two at Baylor, and stepped up his workouts.
“I think the older players last year, the seniors and juniors, really helped me develop,” Mond said. “They pushed me in the weight room to get bigger. It’s definitely an expectation here to win district. There are a lot of tough teams in the district, so we have to stay focused and stay humble. Once we get past district, we’ve got to focus on getting everybody healthy and getting ready for the playoffs.”
August 24, 2015 – Reagan’s Skyler Wetzel, who will start his senior season at safety, gained 805 yards and scored 13 touchdowns last season. Mond missed Reagan’s 50-19 victory over Los Fresnos in the third round of the playoffs with a knee injury last year, but he’s fully recovered, as he proved with a stellar track season this spring.
As a coach’s son, Skyler Wetzel has grown up around football. He started following his father to the field house when he was in elementary school, rode on the team bus and was a ballboy.
“Skyler and Kellen both have a very high football IQ,” Coach Wetzel said. “If Skyler were 23, we’d hire him as a coach right now. He really would be a great football coach. He coached our middle school kids in 7-on-7. He could coach our high school guys in 7-on-7.
“He’s good at it and takes pride in it. If the good Lord wants him to be a coach one of these days and that’s what he wants to do, he’ll be good at it.
Skyler’s height – he’s 5-8 and weighs 180 pounds – works against him in the cold business of college recruiting, but Navy, Rice and Sam Houston have expressed interest.
“The thing that I know frustrates him at times is his height,” Coach Wetzel said. “But there’s nothing we can do about that. If he were my height (5-11) – and I’ve been told this by a lot of people – he would be recruited by a lot of people. But he’ll play for somebody. He’s not worried and I’m not worried.
“Skyler works his tail off in the weight room. He works his tail off in the running end of it, too, so he’s got great speed. He has great instinct and great feet. He’s gotten himself physically strong and can play several positions for us, which is important. He could play linebacker or slot receiver. He just wants to be a good teammate, and I’m proud of him for that. Kellen is the same way.”
With those two standouts back, Reagan will be tough to beat again this season.
Original story courtesy of KENS5, David Flores. Photo courtesty of Antonio Morano / Special to Kens5.com