The Westland football team enters its season finale looking toward the future.
The Cougars play host to Hilliard Davidson on Friday, Nov. 1, hoping to end a disappointing season on a positive note. They were 1-7 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Dublin Coffman on Oct. 25.
Davidson was 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the league before playing Marysville on Oct. 25. It entered the game seventh in computer points in Division I, Region 3, and the top eight teams make the playoffs.
The Wildcats lead the all-times series with the Cougars 31-8-1.
"We just want to keep getting better," Westland coach Rick Rios said. "We know we have a ton of young guys coming back. The group that started (Oct. 17 against Central Crossing), we have 17 underclassmen. It's just a matter of those guys continuing to get better and getting ready for the future."
Westland made a strong bid for its second win before losing 17-13 to the visiting Comets, who now lead the series 11-0.
Logan Green's 16-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Lowe with 54 seconds remaining provided the Comets with the winning points.
The Cougars erased a 10-0 halftime deficit by scoring 13 unanswered points, capped by Peterson Iresne's 18-yard touchdown run with 4:29 left in the game.
Westland quarterback Kyle Bowles rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury. He sat out practice early last week on concussion protocol.
Iresne rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.
"The game was a little gut-wrenching for us," Rios said.
Jason Cooper replaced Bowles and was expected to start against Coffman. Cooper had been out with a knee injury.
"We just got him cleared, so he hadn't taken a snap in two weeks," Rios said. "He'll be OK."
Davidson bounced back from a 10-7 loss at Upper Arlington on Oct. 11 to defeat Coffman 15-14 on Oct. 18 as R.J. Gonzales rushed for 97 yards and Jonathan Weir added 80 yards.
Through eight games, Weir had rushed for a team-high 521 yards and 10 touchdowns on 106 carries.
Girls volleyball team points to future
With six underclassmen in the starting lineup this season, girls volleyball coach Nicole Zumpano expects a strong future for the program.
Westland finished 6-16 overall and 0-10 in the OCC-Central.
The 41st-seeded Cougars lost at 19th-seeded Lancaster 25-14, 25-9, 25-12 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15.
"With five sophomores and one freshman in the starting lineup, we knew that it was going to be a tough season," Zumpano said. "But we didn't back down from a fight and we learned a lot about ourselves. I'm looking forward to the next couple of seasons with this group."
Sophomores Rylea Bott (middle hitter; 81 kills, 42 blocks), Olivia Fernandez (outside hitter; 44 kills), Kaci Roush (defensive specialist; 183 digs), Alaina Russell (outside hitter) and Kenadee Winters (setter) and freshman Kiera Bonds (outside hitter) emerged as starters.
Westland will lose three players to graduation in defensive specialist Kalista Prak and outside hitters Mackenzie Burk and Averi Sites.
"This was such a great seniors class," Zumpano said. "They were great examples of what a leader should be on and off the court."
Winters led the Cougars in assists (322) and was first-team all-league. Prak led in digs (245) and aces (31) and was second-team all-league, and Russell led in kills (101) and was honorable mention all-league.
Others eligible to return are juniors Ashley DuMelle (middle hitter/outside hitter; 85 kills) and Sofia Rodriguez (defensive specialist) and sophomore Airyana Washington (right-side hitter).
Cross country teams compete at district
The boys and girls cross country teams competed in Division I district meets Oct. 19 at Hilliard Darby, but neither team had enough runners to score.
George Reyes led the boys, finishing 95th in district 1 in 19 minutes, 14.7 seconds. Drew Hutchinson was 96th (19:29.8), Francisco Vinalay was 99th (20:05.1) and Harrison Jones was 104th (20:43.7).
For the girls, Taylor Gullion was 90th (23:23.6) and Jordyn Anderson was 92nd (23:33) in district 2.