When Jon Kadi took over as Walter Johnson’s head coach in 2009, he set goals, which seemed relatively lofty at the time, of “winning some games” and establishing the Wildcats as a competitive team within the Class 4A region.
Walter Johnson had won just one game in the five seasons leading up to Kadi’s arrival.
But now, just two years later, Kadi has not only accomplished both goals, but is hoping to take it even a step further this season.
The Wildcats finished 6-4 last year, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the playoffs. They posted a 3-7 record in 2009.
“Our ultimate goal is to get to the playoffs,” Kadi said.
And with 12 of their 22 starters back from last year’s team, which won five of its final six games, Kadi is optimistic this year’s Wildcats can do just that.
Defensive end Charlie Barry and linebacker Andrew Pitsenberger will lead Walter Johnson’s defense while running back Elad Covaliu, who will also be a key contributor at defensive back, will be a primary catalyst for the Wildcats’ offense.
Barry posted 57 tackles and six sacks last season. Pitsenberger, meanwhile, was the Montgomery County 4A Defensive Player of the Year.
In its last six games of last season, Walter Johnson outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 200-82. The defense recorded two shutouts during that span while the offense racked up 42 points or more three times.
The Wildcats will have to replace several key contributors, though – quarterback Cole Ahnell, linebacker, and leading tackler, Alex Schiponi and wide receivers Ryan Davis and Sean Montgomery – but Kadi says, “I like our chances this year.”
“We’re in a pretty tough 4A South [region],” Kadi said. “We’ve got our hands full, but I want to compete week in and week out, and I want to win some football games. Our goal is to get to the playoffs.”
AT A GLANCE
HEAD COACH: Jon Kadi, third year
LAST YEAR'S RECORD: 6-4
KEY RETURNING PLAYERS: defensive end/tight end Charlie Barry, running back/defensive back Elad Covaliu, linebacker/running back Andrew Pitsenberger
KEY LOSSES: quarterback Cole Ahnell, wide receiver Ryan Davis, wide receiver Sean Montgomery, linebacker Alex Schiponi
BIGGEST STRENGTHS: Overall athleticism, team speed and experience on the offensive line
BIGGEST WEAKNESSES: Depth and inexperience at several backup positions
11/4 Bethesda-Chevy Chase