Posted: Jul 16, 2014 10:03 AM
Updated: Sep 19, 2014 11:17 PM
|8 / 22||Mark Twain||Home||Win||40 - 26|
|8 / 29||Carrollton||Home||Win||52 - 6|
|9 / 6||Valle Catholic (at Borgia)||Away||Loss||28 - 72|
|9 / 12||Schuyler County||Away||Win||55 - 7|
|9 / 19||Paris||Home||Win||47 - 7|
|9 / 26||Marceline||Away|
|10 / 3||Salisbury||Away|
|10 / 10||Slater||Away|
|10 / 17||Fayette||Home|
|10 / 24||Districts|
Westran High School football's 2013 makes for a strange year to recall, one of those seasons where you want to remember fondly every single thing that happened, but the way that it all ended makes it difficult to do so. Head Coach Curtis Jasper explains, "We played really well throughout the season, winning both Conference and District titles outright, on the way to a 12-0 record. The season seemed to end prematurely as we lost a rematch against Marceline in the state quarterfinals by four points." A 12-0 record, something extraordinarily hard to accomplish in high school football (or any level of football) was made all for nought by a four-point loss to a team the Hornets had already beaten.
Westran was an offensive powerhouse in 2013, and not a whole lot should change in that regard. The Hornets bring seven starters back to their incredibly effective spread zone offense. They'll be led once again by senior QB Zane Jacoby (6-3, 205). Jacoby received about every accolade imaginable last season, garnering first team All-District, All-Conference, and All-State honors. A true dual-threat QB if there ever was one, Jacoby passed for 1,658 yards and 18 TDs and rushed for 1,736 yards and 31 TDs. With another year of experience those videogame numbers should only improve. He'll be handing the ball off to senior RB Jake Ingebritson (6-1, 207), another All-Conference, All-District, and third-team All-State performer. Ingebritson, a powerful, punishing runner, rushed for 1,322 yards and 20 TDs and caught another 256 yards and 2 TDs. Junior Dalton Wright (5-8, 150) will offer depth in the backfield. He gained 658 rushing yards and 9 TDs last year, along with 88 receiving yards and 1 TD through the air. Sophomore Corey Smith (5-9, 145) should also get some rushes as well.
A solid trio returns as aerial targets for Jacoby. Senior Parker Howard (5- 11, 173) was a first-team All-Conference performer last year, accruing 307 yards and 4 TDs. He'll be joined by a speedy pair in junior Dylan Payton (5- 11, 145), who caught 1 TD last year, and sophomore Austin Sears (5-8, 130), who accrued 140 yards. Sophomore Juan Nichols (5-9, 135) will also line up out wide.
However, with only two starters returning, the offensive line does come back a bit thin. Senior Morgon Wallace (6-1, 247) and junior Brennan Kitchen (6-3, 305) do offer experience, size and talent. Both were All-Conference in 2013 and Kitchen was also named All-District. Look for them to be joined by senior Tristin Best (5-10, 165), junior Zac Long (6-3, 215), and sophomore Carson Latimer (6-1, 223). If the line performs well, Westran has the position players to have a chance at nearly putting up 50 points per game once again.
Not that the defense was any slouch last year. 2013's unit surrendered just 9 points per game and 143 yards on average total. Six starters return to this side of the ball. Morgon Wallace, a defensive lineman, leads the way. In tallying 74 tackles, 18 for loss, and two sacks last year he was named All-Conference, All-District, and first-team All-State. Brennan Kitchen, Carson Latimer, and Zac Long will join them in the trenches. All three played well in the time they saw last season. The backers will be strong, with Parker Howard, who had 62 tackles, 7 for loss, and 3 INTs, and Jake Ingebritson, who accounted for 79 tackles, 3 for loss, and 2 INTs returning. Howard was a first-team All-State player while Ingebritson made the second team. Smith and Best will round out the group.
The secondary should be especially strong. Zane Jacoby and Dalton Wright, All-Conference performers, return along with Austin Sears. Jacoby had 33 tackles, 4 for loss, and 3 INTs, Wright gathered 40 tackles, 1 for loss and 1 pick, and Sears added another 25 tackles, one of them for a loss. Juan Nichols will line up at DB as well. It all makes for a defense that should again be quite effective.
The way 2013 ended shouldn't put a damper on 2014's prospects. Coach Jasper has built a power at Westran, the team having won 63 games in his seven years at the helm. Even more incredibly, the Hornets have collected at least ten victories in each of the last four seasons. Says Coach Jasper, "We would like to continue that trend and make a run as far as we can." Though the Hornets return only twelve lettermen, they bring back a wealth of starters, all talented players, on each side of the ball, so the trend seems likely to continue.
Pigskin's Pick: 8-1