It wasn’t one specific thing that ended West Hill’s football season on disappointing note in 2006, it was a lot of little things.
The defense struggled to hold down opponents, the passing game wasn’t strong and the team chemistry left something to be desired.
“Last year we weren’t an actual team,” said wide receiver and safety David Risko. “Everybody wanted to be “the guy” and no one wanted to listen to each other.”
West Hill’s last season was cut short when they lost to Birchmount Park in the East Region semi-finals.
In addition, East Scarborough’s only high school squad will have to rebound from the loss of several senior players, including Kaleb Parkes, last year’s starting quarterback.
They will also be without their starting tailback, defensive end and outside and middle linebackers.
On the upside, new blood means new beginnings.
A notable difference this season is the number of players trying out for the senior team. With 45 to 50 players looking for a spot, the coaching staff is looking at their biggest turnout in five years.
” When there’s a higher number of guys trying out it means nothing is guaranteed,” said quarterback Ryan Barton, during a jam-packed practice session at the school. “Guys come to learn and practice goes a lot smoother.”
After four scrimmages, head coach Carter Livingstone says the team showed some solid signs of potential by staying competitive every time they took the field.
While the running game looks to be West Hill’s strong suit, defensively it will take some time for all the new players to learn the systems needed to execute, says the coach.
“We struggled defensively a little bit,” Livingstone said. Referring to pass coverage he added, “Mainly on our cover three and cover one packages; our defensive backs are just not there yet.”
The Warrior’s open their season with three consecutive home games against Martingrove, Malvern and Laurier before traveling to Senator O’Connor. After one more home game vs. Cedarbrae, the boys head towards the lake to match up against the team that ended their season in 2006.
“Of course playing Birchmount is something you circle on your calendar,” Livingstone said. “Over the last three or four years there has been a rivalry developing…but we definitely don’t want to overlook the competition that comes before them.”