Over the past nine seasons, Kerry Denison led the Westminster football program to a 44-45 record, including a 7-3 mark a season ago. This year, however, a new era begins under 7-year Westy …
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Over the past nine seasons, Kerry Denison led the Westminster football program to a 44-45 record, including a 7-3 mark a season ago. This year, however, a new era begins under 7-year Westy junior-varsity coach, Dayne Allbrandt.
“I get goosebumps thinking about it,” Allbrandt said of taking over the Westminster football program in an email last week. “The game of football is a phenomenal platform to create opportunities for players to reflect and grow daily. Having a group of athletes who buy into the idea of utilizing goals and reflection as benchmarks realize their potential is limitless.”
Already present at the school and in the program, the 33-year-old coach has familiarity with the personnel throughout the roster. With 18 seniors, Allbrandt expects “an unbelievable amount of heart and commitment leading to great growth and a fun season,” in 2019.
“This group of seniors were special since I first had the opportunity to work with them during summer weights and workouts. Their commitment and dedication showed on the field last year with the success we had. The team has had a great summer with new players taking on greater leadership roles, inspiring great competition at all positions.”
With both the offensive and defensive coordinators back, schemes on both sides should be similar to a season ago. But according to Allbrandt, being able to adapt to what works will be a priority.
Offensively, a powerful offensive line and veteran quarterback will headline the group after losing four of their top five rushers in Nic Lopez (899 yards), Miguel Villalobos (596 yds), Tanner Sisco (543 yds) and Anthony Reiman (328 yds) to graduation. The lone returner from the top five in rushing is senior quarterback, Romeo Rodriguez, who recorded 385 yds on 36 carries.
Behind the wing-T offense, the Wolves accounted for 308 yards per game on the ground with just 56 yards passing per contest in 2018. With two beastly senior tackles on the outside of the o-line, protection and push from Manuel Corrales and Leo Dreiling could prove crucial to the success of this unit. Returning senior running back, Ezequiel Loera, will also take on an expanded role in the backfield after only 21 carries last year. Depth-wise at this highly-important position of RB, there is still uncertainty heading into preseason camp.
One constant will be the veteran quarterback. Despite only standing at 5’9”, the athletic gunslinger is a playmaker. Often times extending plays and looking deep downfield when a play breaks down, Rodriguez will likely have an even more expanded role this fall. Junior tight end weapon Gilbert Bujanda and other inexperienced outside threats will be leaned upon as safety valves for the fleet-footed QB.
In 2018, a real strength of this Westminster squad was on defense. Allowing 15.1 points per game, Westy held all but two opponents to 17 points or less. Ten of the groups top 13 tacklers have graduated, leaving 491 tackles currently off the defense from a season ago. The top 3 returners in this category include seniors Leenardo Montoya (73 tackles), Eddie Vang (54 tackles) and Bujanda (63 tackles). Despite once again running a 3-4 system, a new-look defense will be in place in part to a lot of new faces. Competition, particularly from the younger players will be present in preseason camp and throughout the regular season with spots needing to be filled.
“One goal I created for myself for this season and have thus adopted it as our team goal is for our best game to be our last game,” Allbrandt said. “If we accomplish this, it will mean we got better every day. One of the realest truths in this life is we all have 24 hours in a day, no less, no more. What we do with those 24 hours sets us apart. We will efficiently manage team structure and time to ensure we get better each and every day in some aspect. This goal is much bigger than performance on the field. As we prepare every athlete to achieve high levels of reflection, promoting lifelong learners with the necessary tools to achieve success will create opportunities that most of these athletes dreamed were possible.”
Westminster opens their season Aug. 30 at home against Skyline. The Wolves seek revenge for their loss to the Falcons last season at 7 p.m.
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