The West Elk football team lost close to 60% of its offensive production with Nic Moreno graduating. This season the Patriots have their work cut out for them to find their next offensive juggernaut.
“We lost some great players to graduation but have a lot of players returning that received a lot of playing time last season,” said head coach Chris Haag. “We have a good group of young players that will need to step up and compete for us at the varsity level.”
Senior Devin Loudermilk during the summer opted not to participate in fall sports this year. That void gives a towering opportunity for a youthful Patriots team to step up and fill.
“Rocky Hanks, Koleton Branch and Westley Young will be returning starters, but will be playing new positions this season for us,” commented the 20th year head coach.
Junior Koleton Branch rushed for 129 yards last season with one touchdown. Senior Rocky Ranks, 6’1″ 185 lbs., will move in to the backfield for this season.
Junior Wesley Young, 6’3″ 180 lbs, and sophomore Jarrett Wilson, 6’1″ 150 lbs, should factor into the West Elk offense as well.
In the trenches are the trio juniors of Kizer Berry, 6’3″ 185 lbs, Robert Hudson, 6’2″ 235 lbs, and Clayton Lassley.
Last season the Patriots averaged 32 points per game on offense. Defensively, they gave up 38 points per game.
“We have a lot of kids returning who saw playing time last season and we will need to stay healthy if we want to compete for a district championship,” said Haag.
Seniors Arron Hall, linebacker, and Hanks, defensive back, are the senior leaders on defense. Hanks contributed last season with 32 tackles and one fumble recovery. Juniors Lassley and Young round out the upperclassmen on defense for the Patriots football team.
Underclassmen Tayden Tindle, Jarrett Wilson, and Koleton Branch should see plenty of field time on defense.
West Elk’s pursuit of a district title is aided with three home games. They open up district play at home against league rival Sedan while entertaining Cedar Vale/Dexter and Oswego. The Patriots travel to Marmaton Valley and Yates Center, who drops back down to 8-Man football.
The Patriots begin the 2020 season on the road at Udall on Friday, September 4th, 2020.