Sporting WCA

WAY Too Early 2017 Football Preview

While the 2016 WCA football season comes to an end it is definitely way too early to look ahead to the 2017 WCA football season, but let’s do it anyway.

It is scary to look at the football team’s record from this past year (3-7) and realize that the Cats are losing their top receiver, star running back, and two best defenders. Many people might think, where are our points, our tackles, and our yards going to come from? Well, the “Way to Early 2017 Football Preview” is going to answer those questions.

First, lets highlight the key returning players. Obviously, the name that jumps out on that list is Quarterback Chad Briden. While Chad only played 5 of the team’s 10 games this season, his numbers were still quite impressive. Chad completed 76 passes for 1142 yards and 8 touchdowns. Chad averaged 228 passing yards per game, a very impressive statistic for a first year varsity player. Chad also has his favorite receiver returning in Grant LaValle.

LaValle and Briden’s chemistry was obvious in the five games that they played together, LaValle had 15 receptions for 336 yards and 3 touchdowns, in the 5 games. With a different QB Lavalle had 6 receptions for 49 yards and 1 touchdown. In the two’s second year together on varsity, you can look to see some big things from this duo.

Last season, Junior Charlie McCracken was forced to be benched for the first 4 games due to MSHSAA transfer rules. While he was only eligible for 6 games this season, McCracken had a profound impact on the defensive line last season and even had one game where he turned in over 15 tackles. With the defense losing most of its key contributors from last season, the success of the defense will likely hinge on the success of McCracken.

Moving away from the incoming seniors likely impact on next years team, there are several Juniors who will play major roles as well. First of which is Isaac Johnston. While Johnston did not see much action this past season, Johnston has the perfect build for a tight end. He has the strength to block defensive linemen on his own as well as the hands to haul in passes anywhere in his large catch radius. Johnston is also an effective outside linebacker who played played well in his role which should improve even more next season.

Lastly, someone who will only be a sophomore come next football season, but nonetheless looks to be an impact player for the Cats is wide receiver Jamison Terry. Terry saw his role increase more and more throughout the season and with his size and speed, is easily compared to Dylan Conway. Terry showed mostly potential this year but did have one highlight play that showcased his raw ability against Borgia. On this play Terry broke free and hauled in a long pass from Chad Briden, he made a defender miss and than instantaneously was showing off his fantastic speed by taking off towards the end zone. While he was pulled down just short of the goal line, the play showcased not only his speed, but his hands and elusiveness as well. With talent like Johnston, LaValle, and Terry, Chad Briden will have a wide array of weapons whenever he drops back in the pocket next year.

While the Offense looks to be even more than dangerous next season, the defense is a bit of a question mark as, other than McCracken, the team is missing more than half of their starting defenders from last season. McCracken, along with cornerback Jeremiah Thompson, are going to have to use their experience to provide a heavy percentage of the teams tackles next season. Atlin Hall, Levi Alldredge, and Thomas Lauer are all going to need to step up and fill in some sizable gaps on the defensive side of the ball next season.

With an offense that has fantastic potential, and a defense that will be looking for some less experienced players to step up, the Westminster Wildcats football team will be one to keep an eye on next season.