As the Westland High School football team prepared for its final game of the season, coach Steve White continued to see a strong commitment.
The Cougars were 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Central Crossing on Oct. 26.
"The players have shown a great attitude by coming to practice and working hard all season long," White said.
After opening with a 32-27 win over the Columbus Crusaders on Aug. 24, Westland lost eight consecutive games before playing Central Crossing, including 54-7 to Upper Arlington on Oct. 19.
Westland trailed 7-0 after one quarter and was outscored 20-7 in the second quarter, as UA led 27-7 at halftime. The Golden Bears continued to pull away in the third quarter, outscoring the Cougars 21-0.
"We started off pretty well and again we had chances to make something happen and we didn't get it done," White said. "We have to take advantage of those chances when they come. One way we have to improve as a program is to take advantage of situations when we're in position to score and make good things happen."
UA rushed for 437 yards and had a 459-181 advantage in total yards.
Senior quarterback Jalen Brown connected with junior running back Nick Green for a 1-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Through nine games, Brown had rushed for 1,256 yards and eight touchdowns on 202 carries and had completed 61 of 147 passes for 798 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Junior quarterback Myles Fowler had rushed for 190 yards on 57 carries and had completed 16 of 35 passes for 144 yards, and Green had rushed for 216 yards on 42 carries.
Cross country teams complete season
The boys and girls cross country teams completed their season in the Division I district meet Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial.
The boys team scored 442 points to finish 17th in the 18-team district 3 meet behind champion Dublin Jerome (51) and ahead of Northland (529). The top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to the regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North, and UA (183) secured the final regional berth.
Sophomore Seth Farmer led the Cougars, finishing 30th in 17 minutes, 47.65 seconds.
Also competing were sophomores Bryce Long (96th, 20:47), Andrew Ritchie (99th, 21:04) and Andrew Choate (105th, 22:02) and juniors Connor Scott (112th, 22:56) and Kurt Guffey (113th, 23:28).
The girls team also competed in district 3 but did not have enough runners for a team score. UA was first (49) of 10 teams.
Sophomore Heidi Paxson led the Cougars, finishing 62nd (23:22.58). Freshman Elizabeth Finley (65th, 23:38.43) and junior Haylee Brown (70th, 24:52.89) also competed.
The boys team finished eighth (226) in the OCC-Central Division meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Darby behind Hilliard Davidson (28), Olentangy Liberty (39), Dublin Coffman (86), Thomas Worthington (128), UA (141), Marysville (142) and Central Crossing (210).
Farmer (40th, 17:20.61) led the Cougars, followed by Ritchie (59th, 19:45.06), Long (60th, 19:56.08), Scott (63rd, 20:31.64), Choate (64th, 20:59.9) and Guffey (66th, 22:04.86).
Freshman Silas Birdsell also was on the team but was unable to compete in the league and district meets because of an injury.
The girls team did not have a team score in the OCC-Central meet. Coffman was first (43), followed by Davidson (51), UA (51), Liberty (102), Thomas (107), Marysville (188) and Central Crossing (196).
Paxson led the Cougars (49th, 22:09), followed by Finley (50th, 22:12.01), Brown (53rd, 22:53.18) and junior Lindsay Vachon (58th, 23:39.91).
With no seniors in the program, coach Josh Barkeloo remains optimistic.
"I came into the season with very little expectations," said Barkeloo, who completed his sixth season leading the program. "I was returning just five runners, two boys (Ritchie and Guffey) and three girls (Brown, Paxson and Vachon). All of them were going into just their second season of cross country. We surrounded those second-year runners with a group largely consisting of sophomores that had never run before. We looked to get better every week. We focused on teachable moments and we worked toward creating not only a cohesive team, but a cross country family."
Girls soccer team ousted by Kilbourne
The girls soccer team lost to eighth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 6-1 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 to finish 2-12-2. Both teams had a first-round bye.
Junior midfielder Keila Herrara scored for the Cougars, who were seeded 33rd.