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Prep football: New faces boost JV ’Cats

Despite some key losses, West Ranch could continue its run of success

Posted: August 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: August 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.

The West Ranch junior varsity football team lost some key players from the 7-3 freshman team of a year ago.

But the team also made a few key additions this offseason.

In addition to the freshman coaching staff moving up a level to continue coaching the 55-man roster, new quarterback Gage Tynan, who moved to West Ranch from Illinois, will bring experience and leadership to the squad.

“Last year, the two quarterbacks we had did a great job, but they weren’t quarterbacks. We turned them into quarterbacks,” said head coach Jan Miller.

Now, the Wildcats have a seasoned quarterback who can lead the offense as they prepare for the upcoming season.

“(Tynan) brings us quarterback experience, and I think he’ll do a better job in pressure situations,” Miller said. “He’s quarterbacked at the youth level for several years and he feels more comfortable.”

Like most league teams, the West Ranch junior varsity team will try to emulate the varsity program in an attempt to aid the kids’ progression toward the varsity level.

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the best strategy for immediate success on the field.

“At the freshman level, we get to do a little bit of freelance,” Miller said. “But at the JV level, you practice on the same field as varsity. You’re preparing them for varsity. At the beginning of the year, I went to the varsity practice a lot and the coaches will come back and try to emulate what they’re doing in case a kid needs to be pulled up."

Despite the addition of Tynan, the Wildcats will likely be led by their defense.

“Our defense will be the cornerstone of the team,” Miller said. “Last year, it was the offense. For whatever reason, whether it’s some of them growing into their bodies or whatever, we have a solid defense. The defense will probably carry us through the season.”

Anchoring that defense will be team captain and safety Isiah Guzman, who Miller calls the best athlete on his team.

While so far this season no one has been called up to varsity, Miller and the coaching staff will continue to prepare the kids for whenever that time comes — whether during this season or the next.

“Teaching sophomores what varsity players have to know and do is a little bit more difficult,” Miller said. “ We’re not as fast and big but we try to do the same things so when they go up next year, they’re ready for varsity.

“I don’t have that star player on the team, but I have a lot of good athletes,” Miller said. “I think they’ll do just fine with the combination of the 11th-grade class that’s already up there.”


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