Some added depth has left Westland High School football coach Steve White feeling optimistic heading into the Cougars' opener Friday, Aug. 30, at Eastmoor Academy.

Some added depth has left Westland High School football coach Steve White feeling optimistic heading into the Cougars' opener Friday, Aug. 30, at Eastmoor Academy.

White said his team finished last season with a roster in the high 40s, but he has 55 players to begin this season.

"I'm excited that our numbers are going up," White said. "We don't have as many kids as we would like in our senior class, but our sophomores and juniors, we have 20 to 25 kids in each one of those grades."

Last season, Westland finished 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Central Division, eighth behind co-champions Hilliard Davidson and Dublin Coffman (6-1).

White has been impressed with the development of sophomore D'Kahri Scott (6-foot-1, 186 pounds), who will replace 2013 graduate Jalen Brown at quarterback.

"D'Kahri is a positive-attitude kid, hard worker, good leader and he's 6-1, 186," White said. "He's a big kid. He has a good arm and if he has to put down his shoulder to run the ball, he can do that."

Brown rushed for 1,372 yards and eight touchdowns on 227 carries and completed 65 of 164 passes for 848 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions last season. He was named first-team all-league.

Senior Nick Green (5-10, 210) is expected to be featured at fullback after rushing for 266 yards and three touchdowns on 50 carries last season.

"I'm looking forward to this season," Green said. "I like being put in a leadership role. I think we're a lot better than last year. There is potential. We're a little young, but we can win a few games."

Senior Alex Pridemore (5-10, 208) also will see time at fullback and junior Michael Llausas (5-6, 175) will play halfback.

Junior Brian Foster (5-8, 135) will play halfback and be part of a four-receiver set in the team's spread offense that includes Juniors Reggie Gilliam (6-1, 200) and Dominick Thomas (5-7, 160) and sophomore Koran Montague (6-2, 175).

Junior Tavon Drake (6-3, 265) returns at right tackle. He will be joined on the line by juniors Adam Rose (6-0, 185) at center and Jonathan Justice (6-1, 240) at left tackle, and sophomores Justin Hurley (5-8, 227) and Manny Lagunas (5-6, 215) at guard.

Sophomore Isaiah Henn (5-10, 160) is the kicker and Montague will punt.

Senior Dorrion Newton (6-1, 350), Lagunas and Rose should lead the line in the team's base 50 defense.

Green and Pridemore will play linebacker along with seniors Joey Gutzman (6-1, 190) and Devyn Van Handel (5-10, 160) and sophomores Abu Sheikh (5-9, 175) and Clay Carrel (5-11, 170).

"Last year a lot of the seniors didn't have the right attitude," Pridemore said.

"It was a bunch of individuals out here. This year we're definitely working as a team, a lot harder. We have a lot of young ones, so I'm really hoping that they're going to have a good year."

The secondary will include Foster at cornerback and junior Jayson Evans (5-9, 155) and Llausas at safety.

Westland will play without a key contributor from last season, as senior Myles Fowler transferred to Ready.

Fowler entered last preseason as the starting quarterback, but he broke the ring finger on his non-throwing hand during a scrimmage and missed the first four games. He saw playing time at quarterback, running back and wide receiver over the final six games and made honorable mention all-league, rushing for 281 yards and three touchdowns on 61 carries and completing 16 of 36 passes for 144 yards.

White realizes his team faces long odds in the OCC-Central against perennial powers like Coffman, Davidson and Upper Arlington.

"Until somebody beats Davidson (or) Coffman, they're the top dogs," he said.

Westland's only win last season came against the Columbus Crusaders, 32-27 in its opener. The Cougars lost their final nine games.

"We're going to be better than that," White said. "The attitude of the kids is really good. They're accepting coaching and working hard, and if you can do those two things you have a chance."

The Cougars have lost 34 consecutive league games, with their last win coming against Hilliard Darby 46-29 in OCC-Ohio play on Oct. 20, 2006. That season, the Cougars qualified for the Division I, Region 3 playoffs, losing to UA 28-21 in the first round to finish 7-4.

With the addition of a seventh playoff division, Westland has moved to Division I, Region 2.