With the high school football season a few months away, Cosumnes Oaks High School gets set to enter their second season in the Delta League with a new man calling all of the shots.
In the middle of April, Andrew Bettencourt was appointed as the Wolfpack’s new head football coach and the man tasked to lead Cosumnes Oaks into the promised land. Bettencourt replaces Derick Milgrim who had previously been the head coach of Cosumnes Oaks for the last five seasons, going 33-24, which included a Capital Valley Conference championship in 2014.
“I’m overly thrilled with the opportunity to be the head coach of this prestigious high school,” Bettencourt said.
“One thing my staff and I have tried to instill is be committed to the program, and seeing over 50 kids show up to my first day of practice on their spring break at 6 a.m. showed me that this team is committed to returning to becoming one of the top teams in the area.”
Although Milgrim posted a winning record during his time at Cosumnes Oaks, the last two years in particular for the Wolfpack have been up-and-down to say the least. The Wolfpack have made the playoffs each of the last two years but were unable to get past the first round as 11 seeds both seasons losing to Sheldon and Turlock, respectively, and struggled to adapt to the rigorous Delta League schedule by going 2-4 in their inaugural season.
“We are trying to take things that former head coaches Ryan Gomes and Derick Milgrim brought but also add things and make them our own,” Bettencourt said.
“I think something was missing the last few years, and it is up to the staff and I to make football fun for them and strive for greatness at the same time.”
As Bettencourt takes over the program, he brings a new excitement and offensive mind to the table. Previously, Bettencourt had been the quarterbacks coach at Christian Brothers High School for the past four seasons and has experience playing the position at the collegiate and professional level.
Bettencourt worked with the likes of Tyler Vander Waal who graduated from Christian Brothers in 2016 and earned a scholarship to play at the University of Wyoming.
The appointment of Bettencourt can only mean good things for Cosumnes Oaks’ projected starting quarterback Anthony Grigsby Jr. As a sophomore last season, Grigsby threw for 1,430 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Grigsby also added 299 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
“I previously have worked with athletes and quarterbacks from all around the area and I believe my background can evolve this offense into a different direction and grow Anthony into becoming one of the top five quarterbacks in the section,” Bettencourt said.
“He has that “it factor” and I’m expecting at least 3,000 total yards and 30 total touchdowns.”
Although their Delta League schedule is not finalized, Bettencourt and the Wolfpack’s non-league schedule features some matchups against serious contenders from last season. Cosumnes Oaks will open on the road against Capital Christian who won the Sac-Joaquin Division III Section championship last season. The Wolfpack will also host Monterey Trail three weeks later who were the Division I Sac-Joaquin section runners up from a year ago.
“Our opponents this season are top teams in the area and have had that time to develop and grow, but at the same time I think our inexperience can be a positive because teams may not have an idea of what we are going to do and what we can do,” Bettencourt said.
As Bettencourt looks to spark the offensive side of the ball, one thing he should be able to count on is his defense to shut down opposing teams.
The Wolfpack return eight of their nine top tacklers from last season, which includes defensive back Branden Jennings who intercepted five passes last season and the combination of Tristan Weaver and Myles Cannon who will anchor the defensive line.
“As cliche as it sounds, defense wins championships,” Bettencourt said.
“Our defense is kicking our offense’s butts everyday in practice and we will rely on them heavily to set the tone.”
As Bettencourt looks to incorporate his styles and schemes into Cosumnes Oaks, he knows he is playing catch-up compared to other programs the Wolfpack will face this season.
“I think one of our biggest challenges is not developing complexity and an identity quite yet,” Bettencourt said.
“I know myself, the staff and these players are fully committed, and everyday at practice we knock a tally mark off our calendar to signal another day closer to the start of the season.”