WYOMING, Ohio — Wyoming senior quarterback Evan Prater stood next to two of his teammates late last week and reflected on his final preseason in the Cowboys uniform.
“Wyoming football is something special,” said Prater, a University of Cincinnati verbal commit.
“The whole community is behind the football team. Our coaches are something special, and they teach us not only to be good people on the field but off the field as well. Wyoming football has pretty much helped me develop as a person, not just as a football player. I couldn’t ask for a better community and a better program to play for.”
The Cowboys, who will open the season Aug. 30 at Columbus Academy, show no signs of taking their feet off the gas anytime soon.
“I would say our work level is a lot higher than it’s ever been before,” said Wyoming senior linebacker/tight end Camden O’Gara. “Last year we probably had a little bit more talent, but our weight room in our offseason this year was incredible. It’s the best it’s ever been since I’ve been here.”
Coaches and players take a great deal of pride in the culture at Wyoming, a storied program with 703 wins.
Of the 62 players on the team roster, 55 of those players participated in at least 90 percent of the summer workouts, Wyoming coach Aaron Hancock said.
“I know it’s hard for people to understand this but we really try not to focus on the end result,” Hancock said. “We try to focus on the process of being the best that we can be.”
The expectations don’t change from season to season. The Cowboys want to be undefeated in the regular season, become Cincinnati Hills League champions and capture a regional title.
Wyoming’s seniors have been 39-2 the past three years. That track record speaks volumes to the underclassmen, too.
“I think we have a good vibe,” said Prater, an early area candidate for Ohio Mr. Football and the state’s No. 2 player overall in the 2020 class. “Us seniors, playing together pretty much all of our football careers — we want to go out with a bang. We want to make this season special. I think the young guys want to play for us and help push us this season so we can have a great one and be our best.”
Prater, O’Gara and senior offensive lineman/defensive lineman Harrison Shepherd understand the responsibilities of being a captain and having the ability to lead.
“These guys enjoy the whole process,” Hancock said. “The offseason process, the team meetings, the weight room, the practice field — all of it. Those three captains have done a fantastic job of leading this program. They were perfect attendance in all of our summer programs as well. They are not only vocal leaders but they lead by example as well, so we are very proud of them.”
Shepherd can’t wait to run onto Bernie Barre Field at Bob Lewis Stadium on Sept. 6 in the season’s first home game, which will be against Taft. Wyoming football has represented so much to his life.
“It’s been the greatest part of my high school experience," Shepherd said. "Playing in front of your family, your friends in the community — everyone comes out and supports and they all know your names. It’s just really a great experience every time you step out onto the field every Friday night.”