Week 1 Preview

Eastmoor Academy at Westland

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Kyle Goebbel is looking forward to his first game as Westland High School football coach.

The Cougars play host to Eastmoor Academy on Friday, Aug. 29, in their opener.

Goebbel, who was the offensive coordinator at Olentangy from 2009-12 and was the quarterbacks coach at Olentangy Orange last season, replaced Steve White during the offseason.

White was 3-27 overall and 0-21 in the OCC-Central Division in three seasons with the Cougars.

"We definitely want to get going," Goebbel said. "It's sort of getting to the grind part, so we want that game schedule (to begin) and be able to see where we're at in terms of what we're doing against each other."

Westland and Eastmoor met last season, with the Warriors winning 42-7. The Cougars lead the all-time series 6-1, with their last win coming in 2006 (35-28). That season also marks the last time Westland has qualified for the playoffs.

Eastmoor, which is a member of the City League-South Division, went 6-4 last season. The Warriors missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season after making four postseason appearances in a row from 2008-11. They reached the Division III state final in 2008, losing to Aurora 21-10.

"Eastmoor has been one of the best City League teams since I've been around," Goebbel said. "We always scrimmaged them when I was at Olentangy, so I know how good of a team they are. They're definitely a tough team and they beat Westland pretty good last year."

Eastmoor had been utilizing a power-running game before switching to a spread offense last season to highlight its skill players and help develop a young offensive line that is expected to be one of the best in the City League this season.

Senior quarterback Tyler Simmons (6-foot-3, 170 pounds), who missed the final seven games a year ago because of injury, returns to lead the Warriors.

Seniors Jaylen Belcher (5-9, 160) and Dominic Smith (5-8, 185) are key running backs and senior George Daniels IV (6-2, 170) and junior Terry Johnson (6-1, 160) are expected to be the Warriors' top receivers.

Eastmoor will look to take advantage of its speed as it shifts from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme.

Senior nose guard Chauncey Coleman (6-0, 295) is expected to anchor the line, with juniors Jeffrey Owens (6-1, 230) and David Via (5-10, 215) being key linebackers.

"Eastmoor has speed and they have size," Goebbel said. "They basically have both things you want -- size up front and a lot of speed on the perimeter."

For Westland, junior Clay Carrel (6-0, 175) returns at quarterback to guide the pistol offense.

Senior running back Reggie Gilliam, who had 21 catches for 303 yards and three touchdowns last season, and senior wide receiver Dominick Thomas, who had 23 receptions for 249 yards and a touchdown, should be top threats.

Gilliam also will play a key role at linebacker in the team's 3-4 defense.

"It's game (No.) 1 and we can't do anything to hurt ourselves when it comes to turning the ball over, missed assignments, special teams, all that stuff. We can't do anything like that," Goebbel said. "Offensively, we definitely have to be able to run the ball and control the possession. On defense, we just have to be aggressive and make tackles when we're in position to make tackles and have all 11 guys run to the ball."

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