Tigers hungry to replicate success despite key losses

via The News-Gazette

How does a football coach entice a bunch of high school players to stick with their summer workouts, beyond promises of big wins later in the year?

With food, of course.

A little explanation: Westville operates an offseason regimen which rewards athletes — in football and beyond — with points for attending training sessions and completing certain exercises.

For coach Guy Goodlove’s football program, which checks in at No. 9 in The News-Gazette’s preseason top 10, that means four senior captains each drafted a group of teammates to compile points.

Among Goodlove’s previous prizes: a cookout.

“It keeps them motivated over the course of the summer to continue to come in, and they don’t get burned out,” said Goodlove, entering his 24th season in charge of the Tigers’ program. “Those guys get excited about it, and so do we.”

This is a team-building exercise for a Tigers crew that has posted a 28-5 record over its last three campaigns, but that also returns just two starters from last year’s 11-1 squad.

At the same time, such a contest breeds competition among these young men — something else that could pay dividends when Westville opens the 2018 campaign on Aug. 24 at Central A&M.

“It just makes you want to win,” said senior Trent Maxwell, leader of the White Team. “It pushes your team much harder and just prepares everybody for the next season.”

“We do a lot of bench, deadlifts and squats,” added senior Kyle Stultz, who helms the Gray Team. “Every Wednesday, we’ll ... run some laps around the track. Just stuff like that where we’ll get bulky, but slim down, too.”

The boys disagree which of the four units — White, Gray, Black or Orange — is going to lead the pack by summer’s end.

But they’re also aware this entire process is preparing them for something more.

Goodlove needs to replace a number of departed stars, including starting quarterback Duncan Hathaway, top running back Owen Mariage-Tucker, head receiver Tylan Stricklett and leading tackler Cameron Nicholas.

Beyond senior lineman Alec Schaumburg — captain of Black Team — and junior Dalton Rolinitis at receiver and safety, Goodlove’s Friday night lineup is wide open.

“Some of our sophomores are going to have to step up and fill roles,” Goodlove said. “We’ve been in this position before. It’s not anything new to us.”

That was Rolinitis’ duty last year, and he’s hoping to share that experience with new depth-chart leaders.

“I definitely learned a lot from the seniors last year, because I was a sophomore starting,” Rolinitis said. “I had no idea what to do. Our seniors in the past led us in the right direction.”

Guys like Schaumburg, Maxwell and Stultz — regardless of starting experience — will be looked to for similar guidance now. But it’s not all about the seniors, as guys like Rolinitis and new starting quarterback Raef Burke plan to leave their mark and help Westville defend its Vermilion Valley Conference title.

No matter who breaks out for the Tigers, it’s evident they’re still hungry despite losing so many recognizable names. Especially after posting a perfect 2017 regular season before slipping up in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.

“It’s the same philosophy as the year before,” Schaumburg said. “We had a couple starters coming back, and now we’ve got two coming back again. We’ll just try to do again what we did last year.”

Tale of the tape

Coach: Guy Goodlove (136-103 in 23 seasons at Westville)

 

2018 schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME

Aug. 24 at Central A&M 7 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Dwight 7 p.m.

Sept. 7 at Clifton Central 7 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Salt Fork 7 p.m.

Sept. 21 at BHRA 7 p.m.

Sept. 28 vs. HASAAP 7 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Westmont 7 p.m.

Oct. 12 vs. Oakwood 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 at G-RF 7 p.m.

Westville’s must-win game is ... at BHRA on Sept. 21. There is a good chance the Blue Devils will be 4-0 when the Tigers travel to Bismarck. So the defending Vermilion Valley Conference champions will be tested.

 

A look back

Last year’s leading passer was ... Duncan Hathaway, who went 73 of 121 and threw for 1,280 yards and 17 touchdowns in his senior season

Last year’s leading rusher was ... Owen Mariage-Tucker, who ran 166 times for 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns in his senior season.

Last year’s leading receiver was ... Tylan Stricklett, who hauled in 43 passes for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns during his senior campaign.

Last year’s leading tackler was ... Cameron Nicholas, who compiled 98 stops as a senior.

Categories (3):Prep Sports, Football, Sports

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