STOCKTON — Sal Reyes is playing the long game.
Reyes, the fourth coach at Weston Ranch in the last three years that saw the Cougars with two total wins in the previous two seasons, is looking to the future. He completed his first week of official practices as head coach on Friday.
“My outlook for this year is to build a foundation with our players that we have,” Reyes said. “And we look forward to gaining more players in the next few years and improving the discipline and character of each student-athlete that we have in our program.”
Reyes is the school’s seventh football coach since its inaugural varsity season in 2003. The Cougars have had just one winning season in 16 years while finishing 5-5 twice. Last year, Reyes remained on staff after Kevin Breaker was dismissed a month into the season. Marcelo Zamarripa took over in the interim, and Reyes was hired as head coach in the spring.
A JROTC teacher, this is Reyes’ seventh year at Weston Ranch and third in the football program. After graduating from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Reyes joined the military to begin his 21-year army career.
“Discipline on and off the field will be reiterated every minute of the day,” Reyes said. “And each player who puts on that Weston Ranch jersey will be accountable for all their actions both on and off the field.”
There have been few challenges for Reyes so far, but he expects things to fall into place next week as more players come out for practice. The first day of school is on Thursday.
“Right now we are a little low on numbers,” Reyes said. “We are waiting on physicals for some kids and others to get back from vacation.
“We are hoping that when school starts we will get up to where it should be sufficient for the season.”
Weston Ranch is not the only program battling low numbers.
“Unfortunately, we are not the only ones with low numbers,” Reyes said. “I heard today that Lathrop is not having a JV squad. It’s in a decline for a lot of programs.
“But we have great kids with great character who are motivated and want to learn, and they really want to play. We are a young team with mostly juniors and some are first-year players.”
The Cougars have a scrimmage tentatively scheduled for Thursday at McNair in Stockton and open the season Friday, Aug. 23 on the road against Ripon at 7 p.m.