First-year coach Jared Franz holds a brief discussion with a member of his Westosha Central football coaching staff during a Sept. 18 intrasquad scrimmage (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Franz leading program

By Jason Arndt
Editor

Jared Franz spent many years on the football sidelines serving in multiple coaching roles.

Franz, however, never took the reigns of an entire program until Westosha Central High School named him head varsity football coach last summer.

The first-year Falcons coach, who began with Wilmot in 2007, officially starts his regular season tenure Sept. 25 at Southern Lakes Conference opponent Lake Geneva Badger.

“I am just excited for this opportunity,” Franz said on Sept. 18 at Westosha Central.

The opportunity came with a series of delays since the school awarded him the coaching position last summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which brought uncertainty of holding a fall sports season, caused many coaches statewide to change plans and summer contact days.

“What I learned this summer is no matter how much you plan, be ready to change,” said Franz.

Franz, an assistant at Westosha Central last year, faced other schedule constraints because of the pandemic.

Westosha Central, similar to other SLC schools, had less time to prepare for the 2020 campaign because teams were unable to take the field until Sept. 7.

Typically, a season starts in mid-August, but the SLC decided to play a conference-only schedule this fall and have a seven-game slate instead of nine.

Additionally, the shortened season cancelled two previously scheduled non-conference contests, which helps teams set the tone for the year.

“We have a new coaching staff and they are trying to get together and figure out exactly what everything is going to look like,” said Franz.

Franz, however, credited his staff for adapting to a series of changes and conveying directions to players.

Since the start of practice, according to Franz, the players have responded well.

“Our coaching staff has done a great job. The kids have responded to all of the changes,” said Franz. “If we can get ready for this football season and be successful, we are going to be alright for many years to come.”

Early beginnings
Franz started his coaching career overseeing the freshman team at Wilmot in 2007 and rose the ranks of defensive coordinator by 2013.

His experience included several playoff runs spanning multiple coaches ranging from Mike Greinke, Erick Kaiser and Keiya Square.

Franz later joined predecessor Tyson’s Mengel’s staff at Westosha Central in 2019. Mengel resigned after the 2019 season.

“I had a great time over there, it is a great program, and came over here last year,” said Franz, who commended Mengel’s efforts to instill a positive program culture.

Westosha Central has underwent some challenges in the last 10 years.

Since 2010, when the Falcons last made the playoffs, they have finished 21-69 overall.

But according to Franz, he believes his team can become more competitive in SLC play, which includes contests against perennial top four finishers Wilmot, Waterford, Burlington and Badger.

“I am really excited about this program and I don’t see any reason why we can’t compete every Friday night,” said Franz.

Leaning on leaders
On the field, Franz is looking to many leading returners, including a handful of seniors such as co-captain Tommy Francis.

Other seniors are Connor Grinde, Dylan Eckhart, Jacob Seward, Bryce Sekey and Ben LeFebve.

“We have a phenomenal senior class, they are a little on the quiet side, but they walk the walk,” Franz said.

Additionally, juniors Michael Mulhollon, Zachary Kazumura, Cameron Humphrey, Ean Daniels as well as sophomore Mason McNeill join Francis as captains.

“A lot of our kids in our junior class played as sophomore last year,” Franz said.

 
 

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