Football team eager for OCC win
The last time the Westland High School football team won a league game, it went on to make its only postseason appearance.
In 2006, the Cougars defeated Hilliard Darby 46-29 in an OCC-Ohio Division contest in week nine and went on to lose to Upper Arlington 28-21 in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs to finish 7-4.
Westland will look to end its 27-game losing streak in league play when it opens OCC-Central play Friday, Sept. 14, at home against Marysville.
The Cougars are 0-21 in league play since moving to the OCC-Central before the 2008-09 school year. They did not field a team in 2009 because of a failed levy in South-Western City Schools.
"We need to win an OCC game," said coach Steve White, whose team was 1-1 before playing Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 7. "It's been five long years and we have to get an OCC win."
Westland not only wants to end its losing streak in league play, but it aspires to return to the playoffs.
"It's been something, of course, that we've been striving for every year," senior Kyle Maxwell said of the Cougars' playoff hopes. "The 2006 class was the first team ever to go to playoffs and we've been talking. Senior Cory Beasy, who is an offensive lineman, we've been talking on how we want to go to playoffs. (Senior offensive and defensive lineman) Brian Jackson always talks about getting a playoffs patch. He wants to get that on his (letterman's) jacket, so that's a big goal this year."
Westland lost to Mifflin 53-38 on Aug. 31, as a fake punt and a fumble recovery on a Cougars punt return helped the Punchers take control in the second half.
Senior quarterback Jalen Brown led the Cougars, rushing for 256 yards on 29 carries and completing seven of 14 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
"If we score that many points, we should win every game we play," White said. "We scored 38 points. That should win every game you play. I don't care who you're playing."
Through two games, Brown had rushed for 502 yards on 54 carries and completed 14 of 27 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. He replaced junior Myles Fowler at quarterback after Fowler broke the ring finger on his left hand during a preseason scrimmage. White said Fowler could return to action soon.
"This is a total good news deal because I thought Myles might be done for the year," White said.
Senior running Mike Jackson had rushed for 156 yards on 32 carries through two games.
"So far, it's been a team effort," said Maxwell, who starts at defensive end and sees time at tight end and on the offensive line. "We've been working hard this offseason. It probably was the best offseason I had. We've been playing like a team. We just have to make some little improvements on defense, but I think we're going to be good."
Marysville was 0-2 before playing Dublin Scioto on Sept. 7. The Monarchs opened with a 17-10 loss to Bradley on Aug. 24 and lost to Jonathan Alder 30-10 on Aug. 31.
Through two games, quarterback Kyle Hites had rushed for 266 yards on 33 carries and had completed 20 of 36 passes for 224 yards. Jimmy Applegate led the team in receiving with seven catches for 102 yards.
As part of OCC realignment this summer, Marysville and Olentangy Liberty moved from the OCC-Cardinal to the OCC-Central.
Last season, Marysville finished 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal. The Monarchs underwent a coaching change during the offseason, as Morgan Cotter took over for Jeff Gafford, who resigned after five seasons.
"Marysville is a spread team on offense, they're an up-tempo offense, so we're going to try to slow them down a little bit by keeping the ball," White said. "We're going to try a little ball possession with them. They look solid."
Boys soccer team looking to rebound
After starting the season with three consecutive wins, the boys soccer team entered its game against Grove City on Sept. 6 looking to snap a three-game winless streak.
Westland tied Groveport at 1 on Sept. 1 and lost to Thomas Worthington 4-1 on Sept. 4 in an OCC-Central game to fall to 3-2-1.
Eric Quiroz scored against Thomas and Bachir Bah scored and goalkeeper Shawn Draper had seven saves against Groveport.
Westland travels to Hilliard Davidson on Tuesday, Sept. 11, for a league game, looking to avenge a 4-1 loss to the Wildcats last season.
"I'd like to see our mental game improve, regain the discipline that keeps us playing well," coach Dan Heckler said. "I've been happy the last few games with our newer players, who are stepping up mentally just when the older guys are falling down. With the tough league games, we are falling back on bad individual habits. We need to stick with the team play that gives good results."