Gridiron Gang: New-look Herders ready to pass expectations under first-year coach Perez

RJ Morgan photo

First-year Glenrock football head coach Zane Perez works with his quarterback and receivers on the passing game during the first week of practices.

Joshua Leach


Last year’s Glenrock High School football squad didn’t like looking at its final record after the season was finished – ending the year 1-7 is never the goal for any team. But now the Herd have the opportunity to make a splash under first-year head coach Zane Perez. 

It’s Perez’s first stint behind the clipboard, but he brings a wealth of experience in pads from his time as a prep footballer in Kansas and collegiately with the Colorado School of Mines. 

“I don’t believe that you just learn coaching from coaching,” he said. “I played 5 extra years at Mines and happened to be part of a bunch of really good teams. I’ve been surrounded by some really good coaching and I’m hoping to bring a little bit of that to Glenrock.”

For Perez, the No. 1 goal this season is to build a new football culture. That started in the weightroom. He said nearly the whole team came out in the offseason to build their strength, including some who had never seen a squat rack before. It’s exactly the kind of building block Perez was looking to place this fall, and there’s already been a shift in the team’s attitude in camp. The team is more together, and they’re eager to get on the field.

“We’re ready to go,” said senior linebacker J.D. Holman. “We’re excited to play football. That’s going to be one of the biggest changes that people are going to see this year.”

The mindset of the team isn’t the only thing changing this fall. The Herders of the past utilized a ground and pound offense, chewing up yardage and the clock as well as the turf. The team averaged 45 carries per game that turned into about 183 yards per contest last season, good enough to put the Herd in the upper half of Class 2A in average yardage. 

This year’s youthful Herd will have a different approach. Perez has been reformulating the playbooks and the scheme for the Herd, and fans can expect to see a much more balanced attack on offense. 

The ground game is sure to remain a critical part of Friday nights. Last season’s top rushers, Logan Jones and Hayden Huyser, were among the top producers on the ground in Class 2A, but both graduated in the spring. Glenrock will be relying on Mason O’Brien to carry much of the load, and a handful of other backs to take some of the pressure off the speedy senior. 

“It’s going to be a little different from last year,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got a different idea of how we’re going to score. It’s just going to be a little more fun. We’re young, but we’ve still got it.” 

Improving a passing game that never found its rhythm under the lights last season (Glenrock amassed just 78 yards of passing offense in eight games) is one of Perez’s goals this fall, and Charlie Schowengerdt and Casey Sarvey will carry the load at the receiver position.

“They have the physical attributes and they’re showing a lot of promise, but it’s all brand new to them,” Perez said. “We’ll have a balanced attack. I’ve heard a lot about how Glenrock can’t throw the football, can’t catch the football, but we’re really pleased with what we’ve seen so far.” 

Defensively, Glenrock was solid in the trenches and made it tough on opposing runners to gain yards, allowing just over 143 yards per contest, good for fifth in 2A. The long drives on offense forced the Herd’s opponents to turn to the air, where they found room to rumble to the tune of more than 113 yards per game. Glenrock’s passing defense was opportunistic, allowing eight touchdowns while snagging seven interceptions.

Just as with the offense, Perez is changing up the defensive scheme. He’s adding in the kind of flexibility the Herd will need to match up with any opposing formation, and counting on Holman to act as the quarterback in the new squad. 

“It’s a newer role for me, but it’s something we’ve been imprinted with since we started football here. Everyone is a leader, regardless of how young you are,” he said, adding that his new position is about making sure the defense is communicating. “When we talk, things go good.” 

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Changing up a scheme is a challenge for any team and there has been a bit of a learning curve. With an emphasis on improving and building a new way of playing football, a successful season is one that sees this squad come together and keep putting in the work. Perez wants his team to focus on building a culture and buy into a new way of doing things, but some of his players have loftier goals. 

“I want to make the playoffs, maybe get that state championship,” O’Brien said. “It would be pretty sweet to see us put up a banner in this town again.”

Holman agreed. 

“I want to win a state title,” he said. “I think we can do it if we keep doing our jobs.”

The Herd get their first chance to test their mettle on the eve of Labor Day weekend, making the trip to Kemmerer on Friday night for their season opener. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. 



Aug. 25: vs. NC Sophs. (Scrimmage), 3 p.m.

Sept. 1: @ Kemmerer, 5 p.m. 

Sept. 8: vs. Tongue River, 6 p.m.

Sept. 15: @ Big Horn, 7 p.m.

Sept. 22: vs. Wheatland, 7 p.m.

Sept. 29: @ Burns, 7 p.m.

Oct. 6: vs. Torrington, 7 p.m.

Oct. 13: @ Newcastle, 7 p.m. 

Oct. 20: vs. Upton-Sundance, 7 p.m.

Oct. 27-28: State Quarterfinals, TBD



Head coach: Zane Perez (1st year, 0-0) 

Last season: 1-7, 0-7 2A East

Last state appearance: 2017

State championships: 1958, 1960, 1968, 1971, 1977, 2002, 2003, 2008

Key returners: Charlie Schowengerdt, J.D. Holman, Mason O’Brien


First home game: Sept. 8 vs. Tongue River, 6 p.m.


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