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VARNELL -- Coahulla Creek High School offensive lineman Wade Wiggins is similar to many players in this year's senior class.

When coach Caleb Bagley took over the program in 2017, the group of then sophomores had a long way to go, coming off an 0-10 season the previous year.

"Wade has started since I got here when he was a tenth-grader," Bagley said of his right tackle. "He wasn't necessarily ready like a lot of the others, too, but we had to play them because that's what we had."

Wiggins admits he remembers things not being as easy then as they are now.

"When Bagley and the new coaches came, we were all soft, including myself," he said. "We are a lot tougher now. We like to hit people."

The Colts (0-1) are coming off a bye and have had a week to prepare for tonight's game against Southeast Whitfield. No matter what happens tonight, Bagley said that Wiggins will undoubtedly be a key component in the team's success for the rest of the season.

"He's developed into a really great leader, and he's playing really, really good football right now," he said. "He's not the biggest but he's grown. He's a very intelligent kid, too."

One thing that Bagley said is comforting about Wiggins' leadership is his willingness to learn. He said there's not much censoring that has to happen for Wiggins to soak in any constructive criticism.

Bagley said that leads to his direct actions on the field, more of Wiggins' style of leadership opposed to being extremely vocal.

"He does anything we ask of him," Bagley said. "He is more of a quiet one, but Wade is one of those kids he understands the message and doesn't get his feelings hurt. You can get after him and he can handle it."

Wiggins said the changes he and his fellow teammates have had over the last couple of years are more than just about physical toughness.

"We are tough, too, as in if something goes wrong than we are able to bounce back and forget about the past," he said. "We are able to come back on the next play and make something out of it."

Wiggins said, too, he's been able to find his voice a little more as he has gotten older.

"I'm more about proving it on the field, but if I have to be loud, I will," he said. "They've all heard me a couple of times."

Though he can raise his voice every once and a while, Wiggins said it hasn't hindered his relationship with his teammates, especially senior linebacker Boone Creswell. Wiggins said the pair, who are cousins, are especially close and he'll definitely miss playing with him when the season ends.

"We've played together since we were little," Wiggins said. "It'll be sad for sure."

Wiggins isn't quite sure what path he wants to take after graduation, but Bagley said if he continues to work as hard as he has been, there is a possibility for something in football.

"He's talked about playing at the next level, but he's just not totally sure yet, he said. "Whatever it is, he'll be successful."

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