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West Seneca West Football Preview

WEST SENECA, NY – – The West Seneca West Indians are hoping to feed off their 2015 campaign that saw the Indians go 4-5 after spending two seasons without recording a single win. The four-win season for the Indians is the most since the 2012 season when the team went 5-5 under head coach Joseph Cantafio. Current head coach Mike Vastola, who is entering his 14th season and second as Varsity Head Coach, is hoping for another good season.

“Our motto is to get better at football every day and that will take care of itself,” Vastola said following the team’s scrimmage last Saturday. “We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves, on Monday we need to be better than we were today. Tuesday we need to be better than we were on Monday and that’s all we can do. We can control what we can control.”

The Indians lost all starting skill players (quarterback, running back, and wide receiver), but to counter that the Indians do return a good chunk of their starting offensive line from last year’s squad. Senior quarterback Brendan Tait will enter his first and only season as the Indians’ starting quarterback, but he is extremely comfortable with the line that he has in front of him.

“I’m really confident standing in the pocket, especially with those guys in front of me because they’re experienced,” Tait said. “They’ve been here and this is their second year doing it and it definitely makes me feel more comfortable throwing the ball.”

Tait appeared in three games last season completing two of three passes for three yards. Last year’s starter, Dawson Broad, only played in 4 games (per the team’s stat page on maxpreps.com) but was the Indians’ number one option. Broad went 43-for-82 passing (52.4 completion percentage), tossing for 637 yards while adding in 8 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Broad, who graduated last June, also added 35 rushes for 135 yards and found the end zone twice.

Along with losing their starting quarterback, the Indians are losing their starting running back from last year’s team to graduation, as well. Ryan Sherk was the team’s leading rusher with 100 rushing attempts for 404 yards and found pay dirt twice (he also had two games with 100+ yards).

Vastola did not comment on who would be the team’s starting running back for Friday’s game at Hamburg, but did mention that they would go “by committee” for certain skill positions.

Even though the Indians did not rush the ball extremely well last season, they did pass the ball quite effectively, but the key departures from last year’s team come in the receiving category. Jack Myers led the team in receptions (26) and yards (371), while tying the team lead in touchdowns with Tim Skea (4). Skea had 20 receptions for 294 yards. While Wil Cordero only recorded receiving stats in two games, he was a key force in those contests having three receptions for 102 yards.

“It’s going to be all hands on deck and let’s get the ball to the right spot and that guy better make the right play at the right time,” Vastola said about who would step in for the graduated players. “We don’t have any game breakers, we don’t have any guys that we can lean on yet and I hope some emerge. But it’s going to be, ‘Hey guys, let’s execute.’ I don’t know if I have anybody that presents matchup nightmares for a defense, so we’re going to have to win by crucial moments, right calls, right schemes and finishing the play.”

With all the skills players graduating, it does not help the Indians as they have an extremely tough schedule this year. The Indians will play at Hamburg and Sweet Home in their first two games before they host South Park in their home opener. Following a home bout with Riverside, the Indians will play at Bennett, who has jumped from Class C North all the way into the same class as the Indians. The last two games for the Indians will be at home against McKinley and then the annual rivalry match against West Seneca East, which will be held at the home of the Trojans.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough schedule,” Tait said. “If we set our minds to it and practice hard each week and get ready for the team’s we’ll be alright.”

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