West Ranch High School football set a new precedent last season, reaching the second round of the CIF-Southern Section postseason for the first time in program history. They did so using the talent of players like quarterback Weston Eget and utility players Jovan Camacho and Ryan Camacho.
All three were seniors and when summer camp started for the Wildcats,so questions abound as to whether the team could repeat its playoff performance. Just as ambiguous was which players would step up to fill the vacant roles left by the seniors.
But thanks to a new, quick-thinking quarterback and a flock of capable receivers to compliment him, West Ranch has been able to replicate last season’s success.
Walker Eget, the younger brother of Weston, has taken the helm at quarterback. Nick Kohl, Brandon Wyre and Zach Van Bennekum have become his primary targets.
“I would say if we have four receivers out there, he’s got four options,” said Wildcats coach Chris Varner of Eget, a junior. “And he’s very good at getting rid of the ball before that size disadvantage that we have comes into play. When he’s on, he’s really on and our receivers are really on.”
In terms of receiving yards, Wyre leads the team with 913 on 46 catches to go along with nine touchdowns. Kohl, the underclassman of the group as a junior, follows with 692 yards on 32 receptions with eight touchdowns and Van Bennekum ranks third with 557 yards and nine touchdowns on 44 catches.
Those numbers are particularly gratifying for Kohl, who was moved down to JV last season after failing to secure a starting position on the varsity team.
“It motivated me a lot because I wanted to show the coaches what I was made of and I was worth being a starting receiver,” Kohl said. “This past offseason, I was going and training with a receiver coach every week and working on getting better.”
While Kohl has focused specifically on football, Wyre and Van Bennekum have spread their athletic talents to other sports. Wyre is an outfielder on the baseball team and Van Bennekum was named the All-SCV Lacrosse Player of the Year last season.
“I like for them to succeed in other sports,” Varner said. “It just shows how well-rounded and both the kids … are fantastic students, so you couldn’t ask for two better kids from that standpoint.”
Although all three have different athletic backgrounds, they all have worked together to form chemistry with Eget and help him amass 2,725 yards and 32 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He’s thrown 175-of-302 this season as well, according to MaxPreps.com.
“Forming chemistry just starts at the beginning, how you greet them and meet them and when you first talk to them,” Eget said. “It’s just how they are like, eager to learn and stuff. If they really want to win, they’ll come and we’ll create a quick chemistry.
“It just depends on the attitude and I know that all three of our four of our receivers have a great attitude.”