By BRYAN URBACH
Most coaches will tell you that bye weeks are never a bad thing.
Westwood is hoping that this is the case as it comes into a huge matchup against the Groesbeck Goats coming out of the bye week.
Road games are never easy ones, but Westwood coach Roger Mays said they are something to be cherished in their own way.
“I don't mind road trips at all,” Mays said. “I feel like it gives our kids an opportunity to spend quiet time on the bus focusing on their assignments. We are a tight knit group, so the road trips are a bonding time. I like to arrive early and get acclimated to the field conditions and dressing facilities so that our players and coaches feel comfortable come game time.”
After last year’s 40-0 blowout loss against Groesbeck, Westwood is searching for ways to redeem itself.
To put up with Groesbeck’s passing attack, the Panthers had to work out some specific things during practice, Mays said.
“Groesbeck is a very good offensive team that does a good job spreading the ball around to its key players and throwing the ball,” Mays said. “We spent a lot of time over our bye week shoring up our pass defense responsibilities for this reason. We feel like we need to do a good job offensively of sustaining drives, keeping the chains moving, and keeping their offense of the field.”
One of the things about bye weeks that most teams like is the extra week off to get players back to full health and to reset their minds, almost as if to start the season over again in a way if it is not going well.
For the Panthers, they got the chance to do this last week, and Mays said it was one of the better things that could’ve happened to the team.
“I feel that our bye week came at a perfect time,” Mays said. “Besides getting a week to heal up some bumps and bruises, I like the fact that we have one more pre-district game to fine tune things rolling directly into district play. As I said last week, our record is no where near where we want it to be, but I definitely see bright spots heading into the important part of our schedule.
“Our offensive line is coming together and playing as a unit, and our stable of young ball carriers are gaining confidence the more touches they get,” Mays added about the time off. “We have a couple of seniors on the O-line that are setting the tempo in Hunter Luce and Trey Campbell, then four Sophomore backs that are all dangerous in their own ways with the ball in their hands. They are DJ Hicks, Trey Jenkins, Kaigan Baker and Steven Green. Gabriel Means and Kolby Venoy are providing veteran leadership on the defensive side of the ball.”
With these leaders on the field, the Panthers will search for their second win of the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Groesbeck.