In what has been a disappointing season, the Westland football team plans to use its final two games to gauge its progress.
The Cougars, who are 1-7 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Central Division after losing to Central Crossing 17-13 on Oct. 17, visit Dublin Coffman on Friday, Oct. 25, and close the season Nov. 1 at home against Hilliard Davidson.
"It doesn't get any easier, but that's where we are being able to measure our program and seeing the progress that we've made," coach Rick Rios said. "You have to play teams like that to find out where you truly are."
Westland lost at Marysville 36-13 on Oct. 11 while playing its third quarterback of the season.
Senior Kyle Bowles, who has played wide receiver for most of the season, replaced Jason Cooper, who was out with a knee injury. Cooper had replaced Buddy Workman.
Rios expects Bowles to start at quarterback against Coffman. He had a 99-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Marysville.
"It was some good confidence for Kyle because Jason Cooper being out left us with no quarterbacks," Rios said. "We had pretty much one day to get Kyle ready to play quarterback. ... We said we needed to avoid injures and here we are working on quarterback No. 3. He did some good things for us, but he just wasn't ready to do what we're asking him to do."
Rios said Bowles had a good week of practice leading up to the Central Crossing game and he expected to see improvement.
"It was a big role to take especially since I haven't played or even taken a snap at quarterback since my freshman year," Bowles said. "But coach talked to me and I'm willing to step up for my team."
Peterson Iresne added a 2-yard touchdown run against the Monarchs.
"We want to finish the season strong," Iresne said. "The seniors want to have a legacy of our senior year and helping the juniors for their upcoming senior season."
Rios said Johnny Douglas played well at running back and middle linebacker against Marysville.
"It looks like coach Rios is building on basic foundation principles like hard work, discipline and consistency throughout the program," Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said. "I think their scores reflect those beliefs. Time will tell, but I think Westland will see positive results in the long run."
Coffman was 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the league before playing Davidson on Oct. 18. The Shamrocks entered the game first in computer points in Division I, Region 2.
Through seven games, quarterback Connor Mathews had completed 62 of 103 passes for 687 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for 360 yards and one touchdown on 74 carries.
Moussa Diallo had rushed for 511 yards and five touchdowns, and Bryon Threats had rushed for 421 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Shamrocks also feature highly recruited running back Mike Drennen, who has seen limited time this season because of a foot injury. Drennen rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-7 win over Central Crossing on Oct. 11.
Cross country teams compete at district
The boys and girls cross country teams competed in Division I district meets Oct. 19 at Hilliard Darby.
The boys ran in district 1 with the top five teams and top 20 individuals advancing to regional Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North. The girls competed in district 2 with the top six teams and top 24 individuals advancing to regional.
In the OCC-Central meet Oct. 12 at Davidson, Christian Placencia finished 39th (18 minutes, 52.9 seconds) to lead the boys, followed by Drew Hutchinson (40th, 19:11.2), George Reyes (42nd, 19:24.7), Tyler Aiken (43rd, 20:05.2), Francisco Vinalay (44th, 20:32.7) and Harrison Jones (45th, 20:59.8).
Westland finished fifth (155) behind Davidson (26), Upper Arlington (61), Coffman (64) and Marysville (90). Central Crossing did not have enough runners for a team score.
For the girls, who did not have enough runners for a team score, Jordyn Anderson finished 36th (23:26.8) and Taylor Gullion was 37th (23:27.2).
Boys soccer team falls in first round
The 40th-seeded boys soccer team lost at 39th-seeded Northland 4-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 to finish 5-10-2.
Senior defender Junior Garcia scored his first career goal on a penalty kick in the second half and goalkeeper Trent Beach had 10 saves.
Girls volleyball team loses in opening round
The 41st-seeded girls volleyball team lost at 19th-seeded Lancaster 25-14, 25-9, 25-12 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 to finish 6-16.
Kenadee Winters had eight assists and two aces, Olivia Fernandez had three kills and Rylea Bott added two blocks.
Girls soccer coach completes first season
The girls soccer team finished 3-13 overall under first-year coach Nick Courtright.
The 42nd-seeded Cougars lost at 12th-seeded Davidson 11-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
"It was a tough way to end the season, but overall we're proud of the progress they made," Courtright said. "We just have to get better at soccer itself."
Westland defeated Whitehall 2-1 on Aug. 31, Marion Harding 4-3 on Sept. 26 and Franklin Heights 5-3 on Oct. 1.
"We should have had more wins," Courtright said. "They're working hard and they're a great group of kids."
Westland went 0-5 in the OCC-Central to finish sixth behind champion Coffman (5-0).
The Cougars lose just two players to graduation in midfielder Laura Ornelas-Rod-riguez and midfielder/defender Allison Vasquez.
Sophomore Rebecca Paul and freshman Cynthia Stevens split time in goal.
Others eligible to return are juniors Andrea Lopez Garcia (defender), Ingrid Jimenez (defender/forward), Heaven Manbevers (midfielder/forward), Lucy Martinez (midfielder/forward), Nali Martinez (defender), Amy Morel (defender), Jennifer Rodas (forward) and Iris Pablo Ventura (defender), sophomores Alex Carlton (defender), Bella Garner (midfielder/forward), Cat Gesling (defender) and Madeline McGaffee (defender) and freshmen Hannah Bruno (midfielder/forward), Mya Moxley (forward) and Reagan Schumacher (defender/midfielder/forward).