COAL HILL (KFSM)–A late season three game win streak pushed Westside into the playoffs for the second straight year. Then the Rebels ran into eventual 2A state champion Mount Ida.
“I don’t know that we slowed them down any, but at least we can say they had to go through us to get the state championship,” said head coach Jeff Stewart after the 49-0 loss. “Mount Ida was a rude awakening but it did tell us where we need to be. We were young and only had four seniors last year.”
With an experienced class returning this year (just four seniors graduated), Westside looks to shake up the 2A-4. Senior Lane Houston moves from running back to quarterback to lead the Rebel offense.
"We have to step up as seniors and do well in conference, because if we're fighting a one or two seed in the playoffs again, that's gonna be hard to do," Houston said.
But a new confidence is present among the Rebels, who will run a full year of the Power T offense.
"Last year we switched offenses about halfway through the season so we had to get used to it. I think we'll be able to build on last year's and run some looks people haven't seen yet," said Houston.
However the focus over the summer is attendance.
"We better get in shape cause I don't know that there's enough of us. Our numbers are not where they need to be right now," coach Stewart said.
"I'm hoping we can make playoffs for a third year in a row, but we need more guys here first. We have to get thirteen to have a season and right now we're having nine or ten show up for every practice," senior Joseph Smith said.
Westside opens at home against Woodlawn on September 1 at 7 p.m.