Boys soccer team seeks consistency
The Westland High School boys soccer team is looking to be more consistent as the midway point of the season nears.
The Cougars have alternated wins and losses thus far. They are 3-3 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central Division entering a home contest against Hilliard Davidson on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
"There's some kinks we're trying to work out, but hopefully we can work them out and we can come together and be the team that I know we can be," senior defender Kris Davies said.
Westland and Davidson played to a scoreless tie last season, marking the first time during Dan Heckler's tenure as coach that the Cougars didn't lose to the Wildcats. The Cougars had lost the previous six meetings, having been outscored 39-3.
Westland opened OCC-Central play Aug. 27 with a 3-1 loss to Marysville and lost 2-0 to Thomas Worthington on Sept. 3.
Senior midfielder Bachir Bah scored and senior goalkeeper Jonathan Olvera had eight saves against Marysville. Olvera had six saves against Thomas.
"They're a tough team," Davies said of Thomas. "We were hanging with them for a while. We played them really well. When we play our game is when we do good, but when we lose our heads is when we start to fall apart."
In between those losses, the Cougars turned in what Heckler said was one of their top efforts of the season in a 4-1 win over Pickerington Central on Aug. 29.
Sophomore forward Juan Rios had three goals and senior midfielder Eduardo Santiago scored one. Olvera had 13 saves.
Rios leads the team with four goals and Bah, Santiago and sophomore midfielder Marco Santiago have scored two apiece.
"I'm not surprised with the way the guys are playing," Heckler said. "I'm happy with what they're doing. They're putting a good game together as far as the kind of tactics we use. I saw that coming before the season. The guys are really well coordinated. They play well together."
Football team getting ready to face Tigers
The football team will play its third City League opponent in as many games when it faces Columbus East in its home opener Friday, Sept. 13.
Westland opened Aug. 30 with a 42-7 loss to Eastmoor Academy and played Mifflin on Sept. 6. East opened with a 48-6 loss to Hamilton Township on Aug. 30 and played Briggs on Sept. 6.
East, which finished 5-5 overall and 2-5 in the City League-North last season, allowed 379 yards rushing against Hamilton Township.
Senior James Curry returns at quarterback for the Tigers after being named honorable mention all-district in Division III and first-team all-league last season. Senior middle linebacker Nate Burkes was second-team all-district a year ago.
"We were able to see (East) against Columbus Academy in a scrimmage and they ran an open attack," coach Steve White said. "They had a real nice quarterback. He was very elusive. They had a really nice middle (line)backer. Those are two very good football players."
Against Eastmoor, sophomore quarterback D'Kahri Scott scored on a 5-yard run in the second quarter to cut Westland's deficit to 12-7. Trailing 20-7 late in the first half, the Cougars missed an opportunity to pull closer, as they drove to the Eastmoor 1-yard line, only to have time expire.
Westland was outscored 22-0 in the second half.
"We have to be able to score from the 1-yard line no matter what the situation is," White said.
Scott finished with 84 yards rushing on 15 carries and completed nine of 19 passes for 79 yards and two interceptions in his first varsity start. The Cougars finished with 131 yards rushing.
Westland's defense allowed 328 yards rushing against Eastmoor. Running back Martine Perez led the Warriors, rushing for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries.
"Eastmoor didn't surprise us," White said. "They hit one big play on us. For the greater good of the program, we'd give up a lot of big plays. We only gave up one big play in the first half. They hit a flag pattern and we didn't have it covered."
White was referring to quarterback Tyler Simmons' 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaylen Woody.
"We answered that. We were down 12-7 in the second quarter," White said. "Our kids played hard and they competed for four quarters. If we keep doing that, we'll get some victories."
Runners preparing for home meet
The cross country teams will play host to the Shin Splint Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Westland competed in the Canal Winchester Invitational on Aug. 28, with the boys team placing 11th (338 points) in the 20-team field behind champion Bexley (64) and the girls squad finishing eighth (280) of 18 teams as Columbus Academy (62) won.
Seth Farmer led the boys team, placing eighth of 247 runners in 17 minutes, 43 seconds. Bryce Long finished 58th (19:34) and Erick Martinez was 95th (20:41).
Donna Mayhew placed 38th (22:26) of 197 runners to lead the girls team. Heidi Paxson finished 47th (23:05) and Hannah Festog was 62nd (23:59).