Sept. 6at Randolph
Sept. 13at Portville
Westfield Receivers: Derek Walter and Joey Villafrank. Back: Kyle Witmer; Jacob Gray and Norman Rodriguez.
Sept. 20 Ellicottville/West Valley
Sept. 28at Nichols
Oct. 4at Maple Grove/Chaut. Lake
Oct. 18Cassadaga Valley
RECAP OF 2012
Just like 2011, the Westfield/Brocton Wolverines finished 2012 with a 4-4 record and a first-round exit in the Section 6 playoffs.
"Last year we ran the ball well," Westfield coach Bob North said. "We had decent size and tailbacks who carried the ball well. We hadn't had that type of team in a long time. We struggled in the passing area and we started out strong defensively, and didn't do well at the end of year."
The junior varsity program started the season 6-0, but lost the final two games of the season as injuries caught up to the Wolverines' varsity program.
"Last year's jayvee team did very well," North said. "They ran the I-formation and some power I. What hurt at the end of the year was (the varsity team) stole a couple of their better kids."
KEY PLAYERS LOST
A key player the Wolverines will miss is Dan Ferguson, who was the runner-up in the league's defensive most valuable player category, along with Mike Okerlund.
"Both guys carried the ball," North noted of their offensive production. "We rotated them in and out. They did a nice job for us last year."
Quarterback Dylan McCubbin, top receiver Jon Coe and lead back/linebacker Cam Wright were all vital pieces to last year's squad who have graduated.
Also missing is the entire offensive line, led by three-year starter Bill Nowell and two-year center Jordan Ellis.
"We are kind of starting over, almost," North said.
Garrett Francisco (tackle/defensive end) will be the captain of the team and Nolan Hunt is the key returning player, according to North.
Hunt started at safety and as a slot receiver in 2011, but will make the move to quarterback this season.
"He is one of the better athletes in Chautauqua County," North proclaimed. "He is only a junior. Last year in baseball, he was MVP and he was a standout wrestler. He made second team all-star for us last year. Offensively, he was nice weapon. We expect big things from him."
The rest of the team is mainly players from the junior varsity team. "This year, we are very young," North said. "This year's team is basically our jayvee team from last year with a couple kids sprinkled in."
Damon James had a stellar 2011 campaign in the backfield for the jayvee program and North is hoping for a repeat on the varsity level.
"I expect good things from him," North said. "He runs hard. I am looking forward to seeing how he does this year. He will start at tailback and may play defense."
A pleasant surprise for North has been the play of first-year player McCallum Buchanan. "He looks extremely athletic," North said. "I have been extremely impressed. He will probably start on both sides. We have to get his hands on the ball."
OUTLOOK FOR 2013
Westfield is back in Class D and though it will not have to face the likes of Southwestern and Fredonia, it will have the tough task of facing Maple Grove-Chautauqua-Lake and state powerhouse Randolph.
The first two weeks will be the toughest part of the schedule for Westfield as it plays those two teams.
"I would be pleased with another 4-4 year, but realistically we have some strong teams in Class D," North said. "I think we are a year away from being good. The only scary part is our numbers. Any time we can get experience on the line, it's a great thing. The kids are working real hard."
North is disappointed with the numbers as he has 40 kids between the varsity and jayvee program. He will also be implementing a new offense, reminiscent of the 2011 season.
"Last year, we pounded the football," North said. "This year, we are going to be small, but quick. We will spread it out like we did two years ago and go from there."
"Randolph is a returning state champ and are returning seven guys on each side of the ball," North noted. "Randolph has been a powerhouse for years. We play them the first week of the year.'' He added, "Portville is up and down. Maple Grove has always been good and adding three or four excellent athletes from Chautauqua Lake will make them outstanding. It's good football. We have to come to play every day."
KEY GAME OF
Like most coaches, North is looking at Week 1 on his schedule, and with good reason as his Wolverines will take on Randolph.
"That will help us find out where we are at," North said. "Hopefully it will be competitive. A win would be a bonus. If we play with them, it will give us confidence. We are changing things and doing things differently with a whole new set of kids. Getting our feet wet will be huge that first week."