Saying goodbye to the football season and a beloved coach


Photo by Photo courtesy of Saad Abdulazeez

The Varsity team defeated Fenton High School on October 8. (Photo by @saad.a184)

By Kaylee Ahuatzi, Reporter

The Varsity football season came to an end the night of October 22 at West Chicago Community High School’s Memorial Stadium. In the weeks that followed, players reflected on their triumphs and losses, including the passing of a favorite coach, David Williams, whose memory now lives on through his team.

If the Varsity football team could describe themselves with one word, players say it would be “family”. Although the team lost 8 of their 9 games, they never gave up on their goals, and had each other’s back on and off the field. 

The season kicked off on August 27 with a game against the Streamwood Sabres. While the Wildcats lost, 62-7, the loss propelled the team to work harder. 

According to junior Jaden Bates, Varsity safety, “Our best game was against Bartlett because they beat Streamwood, [which] blew us out by 50. People expected us to lose by way more than 50, but midway and towards the last few minutes of the game, it was really close.”

The highlight of the season for Varsity players was the October 8 game against Fenton High School. The Wildcats dominated the field, ending with a score of 33-6.

Junior Joey Ferruzza, Varsity running back and linebacker, said, “We won. Everyone played well: Mason [Wright] had a defensive and offensive touchdown, Tommy Doyle – the freshman – got a pick. I ran for one hundred sixteen yards and a touchdown. Jaden [Bates] scored, and Amari [Diaz-Thomas] got four sacks.”

The Varsity team after their win against Fenton. (Photo courtesy of Saad Abdulazeez)

Injuries impacted the team throughout the season, giving some freshmen-sophomore (frosh) players the chance to play in Varsity games this year, including wide receiver and defensive tackle Doyle, as well as sophomore quarterback and linebacker Krystian Roldan, and sophomore running back/linebackers Vincent Muci and G. Ashton Bunn.

Roldan explained, “This year’s football season was filled with a lot of hard work, and hard-working guys, but we were short on players, and injuries cut down our roster majorly.”

The win against Bartlett (22-0) at Memorial Stadium was a proud moment for the frosh team, which lost 7 of their 8 games this year.

Roldan stated, “Personally, the best moment of the year for me was either the switch up to Varsity, the touchdown throw to Mason Wright, or our twenty-two to zero win against Bartlett on JV.”

Seniors after their last game against South Elgin at Memorial Stadium. (Photo courtesy of Kaylee Ahuatzi)

Players from both teams believe the hardest game was against the South Elgin Storm, who scored 70 points against the Wildcats on October 23. South Elgin won 91% of their games this year, and was ranked first among the Upstate Eight.

The East Aurora Tomcats also stood as strong competition for the Wildcats. Though East Aurora only won 44% of their games this year, they dominated the game against West Chicago, scoring 50-6 on October 16.

Senior quarterback and Varsity player Dylan Krupp said, “The toughest of the season was against East Aurora because we had a few important players hurt, and it was a bad game overall.”

Despite a season marked by defeat, the Wildcats were happy to return to the field after the pandemic interfered with the sport in 2020. Senior and Varsity defensive tackle Shawn Gomez stated, “I enjoyed the full schedule this season because we had a short one last year.”

I’m going to miss the great football experience that WEGO provided,” added senior and Varsity wide receiver Esteban Alaniz.

The thing about my team is – although scores in games didn’t go our way – we never backed down. The team kept going. Practices were hard, and also fun. Lots of energy from players. Here and there, we pick on each other, like brothers, if we messed up on something, but that just made us want to complete that assignment even more,” said Bates.

In addition to the strong bond the players felt this season, one of the driving forces behind Wildcat football was the coaching staff, headed by Coach Tyler Belding.

Sadly, a week after the Wildcats’ last game, Coach David Williams passed away in a car crash October 31. Williams was the wide receivers’ coach and special teams coordinator.

Coach David Williams with Wildcat football players. (Photo courtesy of WEGO Athletics)

As players mourned the sudden loss of Williams, they recalled he was a demanding coach who knew how to have fun. Many of the players described him as an honest and reliable man. In addition to working as a coach for West Chicago Community High School, Williams served as an outreach pastor at Calvary Church, a tutor and paraprofessional at Simmons Middle School, and a case manager with the Quad County Urban League. He had also been hired this year to work as an assistant basketball and soccer coach at District 131.

According to an column written by Denise Crosby for the Chicago Tribune, “friends and family” believed “reaching out to embrace or help others was part of Williams’ DNA.”

The loss of Williams, often referred to as Superman, was difficult for players, who saw him as a beacon of positivity.

Gomez said, “Coach Williams is my inspiration to try my hardest at anything I do, and think positive through dark and sad times. He brought fun to all of our practices. I never saw him without a smile, and he was the reason why we left everything on that field; he was our motivation, and he made us all better men than we were before.”

Coach Williams was described as “an inspiration” and motivator by many players. (Photo courtesy of WEGO Athletics)

“Coach Williams was the greatest man and coach West Chicago has ever had. He spoke nothing but positivity, and pushed for the absolute best out of everyone on and off the field,” Krupp added.

The football team joined together on November 1 to honor Williams in a memorial ceremony, during which the team released a lantern into the sky in honor of the beloved coach.

Krupp explained, “The best moment of the season for me was having everyone come together as a team in remembrance of Coach Williams.” 

Senior tight end and Varsity player Johnny Burton said, “I never would have thought that day I would ever see ‘Superman’ hang up his cape. Though it is sad that we’ve lost such a pure and supportive man, what was demonstrated at his team-made memorial reminded me of the family that he built during his time as West Chicago High School’s football coach. He was our coach and our role model, our mentor and our friend. He was our superhero. He will be the reason why our football team will continue to grow as a family on and off the field.”

While many players were at a loss of words following the tragic end to their season, one thing is for certain: Coach Williams will never be forgotten. 

Until we meet again, Superman…