By BRYAN URBACH
The Westwood Panthers, who are 1-2 on the season, are looking to knock off the undefeated Malakoff Tigers.
To accomplish that, Westwood coach Roger Mays sat down this week and came up with what he said is the perfect game plan.
“Malakoff is a very dynamic team,” Mays said. “They score a lot of points, and they can spread the ball around. We’ll have our hands full with their athleticism, but I feel like we have a good game plan.
“As long as we know what a team is going to do that week, we’ll be fine. I think we’ll do good on defense this week,” the coach said.
Malakoff has scored an average of 54.3 points per game so far this season, but Mays said there is always a way to beat a team with that kind of offensive power — to play defense.
Last week, Westwood gave up 34 points to Brownsboro, but Mays said he was optimistic because even though the Panthers gave up that many points, 21 of them came in a quick stretch in the first half.
“Last week, you know, we gave up 34 points, but I felt like our kids showed signs of playing the right position and being in the right scheme that they’ve been taught,” Mays said. “I think we’re coming on ... it’s a sign of the youth on our team. We gave up three scores pretty quick in the second quarter, but other than that we played within a touchdown of Brownsboro. We just have to cut out those big plays.”
So far this year, youth has been a factor in the Panthers’ success. Mays said even though Westwood has youth, there is leadership among that youthful spirit.
“You know, we have four or five seniors on this team, and we’re really counting on them hard,” Mays said. “The offensive line and the skill positions are where those kids are, and we can use all the help they can give us. They’re doing a great job of leading by example and showing the younger guys how to do things.”
Westwood needs to continue to improve and play more solid at each position throughout the season. Mays said the team should do that come district play.
“It’s been like Jekyll and Hyde for the first of this year,” Mays said. “There were a lot of mistakes in week one, then we went back to those mistakes in the third week. Our offensive line wasn’t as strong in the first week, they were great in the second week and then they went back to how they were in the first week. We just have to solidify and play more consistently,” the coach continued.
“By the time we get to district, I think you’ll see what kind of team we truly can be. We’re a ways away from that place now, but it’ll get a ton better and more consistent.”