The West Portsmouth Senators found their stride last season under head coach Ben Johnson, and finished their season with a 10-2 record, but ultimately fell short of their goal with a second round playoff loss to Johnstown-Monroe. This season will feature many of the same faces in the skill positions for the Senators, but this season many of those same faces will be returning to the field in their senior years.
The style of West football has always been a hard nosed running attack, but that changed when Johnson took the reins as head coach of the Senators. Last season was the Senators most prolific offensive season, perhaps in school history. The versatility and variations in which the Senators scored the football was exactly what Johnson envisioned his program developing into.
Returning skill position players for the Senators include seniors Garrett Hurd, Josh Berry, Isaiah Norman, and returning sophomore starting quarterback from a year ago, Dylan Bradford. All of these players had high praise for what it means as a skill position player to play in such a fun offense.
Garrett Hurd, who finished with 1,345 rushing yards along with 11 touchdowns on only 229 carries while earning second team all-state honors last season, couldn’t be happier with the way the high powered offense is ran. “I love it” said Hurd, “It’s my favorite thing to do. I love running the ball, I love finding a hole and just hitting people.”
Another senior on this year’s West team, Isaiah Norman, also finds their offense to be a very fun offense to play in. “It’s really a lot of fun, he has a lot of different play sets to where I can get open” said Norman, “Hopefully our quarterback Dylan (Bradford) can get it to me on the spot so I can score some touchdowns for us this year.”
Seniors are expected to take on a larger role in the locker room by motivating their teammates to work harder and put that little bit of extra effort in, so they can reap the results of that extra work on the football field. Senior Josh Berry believes he has definitely taken on a larger leadership role in the offseason and heading into this fall. “All throughout the offseason, we’ve been working to get guys stronger by working out” said Berry, “Going into the season, we’re just trying to make people better every day.”
As the season quickly approaches, Berry is most looking forward to their rematch with Burg, and what it means to play them. “That’s always the most fun game for me” said Berry, “It has been my whole life.”
Hurd is looking forward to the Raceland game this season, potentially even more so than Wheelersburg. “I’m looking towards the Raceland game” said Hurd, “Last year, it was a close game and I’m looking for a blowout this year. I want to have a blow out against them.”
West will have two scrimmages prior to the start of their season, one on Friday August 10th at Jackson, and one Thursday August 17th at home against Ironton. They officially kick off their season August 24th at South Point with a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT