The past 12 months have been one heck of a ride for the West Seneca West Indians.
After quarterback Matt Myers transferred from Bishop Timon last summer, the Indians took the Western New York high school football scene by storm last year, going 13-0 and winning the first ever state title in school history.
“It was a terrific season,” junior Liam Scheuer said. “It was one of the best teams I’ve been on. We never had that doubt in our mind that weren’t going all the way.”
West Seneca West has been on a well-deserved victory tour after finishing their perfect season on Thanksgiving weekend, but West Seneca West coach Mike Vastola has been working hard to make sure his team is ready for 2018.
“That’s the whole game,” Vastola said. “That year is gone. This is a brand-new season. We are 0-0. The only thing we can control is what we’re doing at the moment and how we’re preparing for this year. We’re not thinking about last year.”
Oddly enough, the 2018 squad looks a lot like that 2017 State-title winning team.
Tailbacks John Speyer (825 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns in 2017) and Bryan Ball (341 yards, six touchdowns in 2017) are back for their senior years. Ball was also the team’s second leading tackler with 111 tackles.
Myers’ favorite target was former Timon teammate WR/DB Juston Johnson, who hauled in 53 catches for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns. Johnson, now a senior, return as does 6′ 2″ WR/SS Kyle Haettich (23 catches, 44 yards and 8 touchdowns).
The Indians’ top defenders from last year are only juniors in 2018. LB Mike Glinski finished the year with 154 tackles, including 14 from behind the line of scrimmage. Scheuer led the team with 13 sacks, also making 109 tackles.
T/DE Josh Wilson is expected to be leader on both the offensive and defensive lines this year.
“We get most of our guys back,” Vastola said. “So, it’s more about filling in some holes and getting better.”
Of course, there are big shoes to fill at QB with Myers, whose playing at the University at Buffalo, graduated.
Not only did the Division-I quarterback throw for 2,397 yards and 24 touchdowns but Myers was also the Indians’ leading rusher with 1,037 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground.
West Seneca West is counting on Scheuer to take over under center.
“It’s a tall task,” Scheuer admitted. “You have to come in and fill those big shoes.”
Besides losing Myers, WR Jessie Broad along with linemen Vinny Draper and Bradley Claycomb are gone too.
The Indians are looking for big things from juniors RB/LBs David Beard and Nicolai Lowman, who were called up from JV toward the end of the last season.
“We’re counting on those guys to come up and continue what we’ve started,” Vastola said of his young players.
As much as they enjoyed last season, West Seneca West will need to put that behind them in order to have success in 2018.
“We’re always going to remember the state title,” Haettich said. “We have to start anew.”
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