West has a wealth of experience at the skill positions.
Coach: Heath Henderson (3-15 in two seasons at West)
2009 Recap: 2-7 (1-6), missed playoffs
Returning Starters: Offense 7, Defense 6
Returning Lettermen: 27
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West’s offense is starting to reap the benefits of starting young players for the last couple of years. Arnez Jones is back for his junior season in the backfield. Jones has started each of his first two years at West.
“He (Jones) is bigger, stronger and faster than he has ever been,” Henderson said.
Dorian Flournoy is also back as a senior quarterback to run the spread offense West will employ. There are some growing pains to be expected as West replaces some key athletes.
“We’ve got two-fifths of our offensive line that is unproven and half of our receivers are new,” Henderson said.
One of those receivers that graduated was second-team all-league wide receiver Jamez Jones. Davion Hill will bring the experience to the receiving corps.
Schequelle Barber is a strength on the line this season. Last season Barber was listed at 6-4, 315 pounds. Blake Legliter is also back after starting every game last season as a freshman.
Henderson is confident the West offense will continue moving forward despite some of the uncertainty on the line and at receiver.
“We will get substantially better on offense this year,” Henderson said. “This is our third year in the system and our consistency will be a strength. I think we will run the ball well and throw the ball this year.”
The defense will go as 6-3, 275-pound Davion Griffin goes. The star defensive end will be a force on the line for West.
“He can be as good as he wants to be on any given play,” Henderson said. “He can be unstoppable at times.”
Chris Banks will be the leader in the secondary this season as a senior.
“He is a ballhawk,” Henderson said. “He has extremely good ball skills.”
Overall Henderson is comfortable with what his team has to offer in the secondary.
“Secondary is one of those places where we always seem to have some decent athletes,” Henderson said. “It shouldn’t be too much of a drop for us.”
West will have somewhat of an uphill battle on defense due to lack of size.
“The strength of our defense should be our athleticism. We are a little bit more athletic, but a little bit more undersized than we would like,” Henderson said. “We are going to find out if speed really does kill.”
Odds and Ends:
West is in a difficult district for the next two seasons as it draws six-time defending champion Hutchinson and perennial power Bishop Carroll. Liberal will round out the district. Henderson and his team are not panicking though.
“We have six games to play before we get to districts. We’ve got some winnable games,” Henderson said. “We can get off to a really good start this year if we play like we are capable of playing.”
West has improved by one game each of the last two years as it won two games last season…The Pioneers will have to employ many two-way players this season.
“We don’t have the depth that most City League teams do,” Henderson said. “We want to keep our best guys on the field as much as possible and still be successful.”