CLEAR FORK — The statistics spell it out all too clearly.
Westside got off to a great start last season, beating Liberty 28-6.
The calendar has nearly turned a year, and the Renegades are still looking for their next victory.
After winning that season opener, the Renegades averaged just 10.2 points per game while surrendering 41.7. The Renegades rushed for just 87.2 yards per game last fall and threw for 108.0 per game. Defensively they had just three sacks on the season and three interceptions.
There were bright spots, those spots just didn't translate into wins.
"But if you look at our scores, we were in a lot of games, we just didn't finish," Westside coach Herbie Halsey said. "The Midland Trail (against Class A semifinalist Midland Trail) game was a good game at the half (Trail led 20-0 at the break and won 26-14). Our game with Man was a game at the half (14-6 before Man won 36-6)."
On July 28, the first day of practice (Westside used its five flex days to open fall camp a week early), Halsey was concerned that the Renegades would have enough skill players.
Turns out, after a little in-school recruiting by the coaching staff, Westside has more than enough.
While the Renegades struggled in the run game last season, averaging that 87.2 yards on the ground, the run game looks to be improved this year, with a new quarterback, a lacrosse player and a converted lineman.
Blake Goode will get the first shot at replacing Bradie Vance at quarterback. Vance passed for 1,080 yards last year. The Renegades might not throw for more yardage, but Halsey is excited about the new options that Goode's mobility brings to the offense.
"We are going to be able to expand the offense a little, do some things we haven't been able to do in the past," Halsey said. "I think he throws the ball well enough, and we like what he gives us in the run game. He doesn't need a lot of room or a lot of space to take the ball up the field. Once he gets through the line, he can get up the field before (opponents) know what hit them. We're excited about the things we can do in the offense this season."
Goode led the Renegades in rushing with 419 yards as a freshman. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns on the ground, which was half of the Westside rushing touchdowns.
He is back but in a more familiar position at quarterback.
It should be a good move, considering Goode came up through the ranks and only played running back because he was needed at that position.
The run will still be Goode's strong point.
"When he completes his first pass it will be his first in high school, although he attempted six passes last season" Halsey said.
He added that, if needed, he won't be afraid to put Goode in the backfield and bring in backup Spencer Keeney who will start the season as a receiver.
"He has the better arm," Halsey said. "And it's not like he isn't mobile. He single-handedly won two JV football games for us with his feet."
Goode will likely start the season at quarterback, a position in which he said he feels more comfortable.
"Blake has that game time experience on Friday night, and that gives him the edge right now," Halsey said. "But anything is possible. We could have them both in there, but right now, the quarterback (spot) is Blake's to lose."
The backfield will be entirely new. Cameron Hatfield has had a strong preseason camp at running back. Hatfield moved in from North Carolina, where he was being recruited as a college lacrosse player. His parents are both Baileyville natives.
"He's looked pretty good (in the preseason)," Halsey said. "We think he is going to be a very good back (who) people are going to be talking about."
Hatfield will be a junior. The other top back is Logan Shumate, a converted lineman.
"He started his career on the offensive line as a freshman," Halsey said. "He lost weight and he is pretty quick. He reminds me of a Mike Alstott (former Tampa Bay Buccaneers fullback) or Owen Schmitt (the former WVU fullback) when you watch him play. He is a kid who is not afraid of contact. The only thing limiting Logan is his lack of experience."
There is no shortage of receivers, and that starts with Isaac Mosley and Daniel Reed in the slot.
Mosley has had some success in the Westside program, and Halsey said he is looking for the speedster to come into his own.
"He is the fastest player I've had the pleasure to coach," Halsey said. Last season Mosley had 14 carries for 35 yards and three catches for 63 yards.
He has been hampered by injuries that have cut into his playing time. Reed also has had success on the football field. Given an opportunity to play early last year, Reed had 32 carries for 141 yards and five catches for 47 yards, his dual abilities fitting the mold of what Halsey wants to see at slot.
Conner Gibson (4 carries, 44 yards) and Brandon Dixon will also see action in the slot.
The receiver corps must replace a pair of standouts in the graduated Trevor Birchfield (27 catches, 395 yards, 3 TD) and Jace Colucci (26-262-2), who opted not to go out for football this season.
Those two, along with Dylan Cantrell, who signed with Concord were the only Renegades with double figure receptions and Reed is the only player who had a touchdown reception last year.
Seniors Will Cook (2-48) and Parker Rolfe will be counted on to fill the void, along with Keeney and Ethan Blackburn, who did not play last year after playing some quarterback as a freshman.
"We have a lot of guys that are about the same, and that competition is going to make them better," Halsey said. "We think we are pretty set at receiver. Again, they are not lacking ability, just lacking that Friday night experience."
Westside has long been a school that typically had some big linemen, and that is not the case this season.
Halsey has seen potential, but the line is far from being a finished product.
Early in the preseason, Halsey only had two players he was sure of on the offensive front, Chase Belcher, at center, and Colton Morgan at guard.
"Last year we really lacked consistency in our snapping," Halsey said. "That is something we need to improve. Right now that center position is Chase's job to lose. Colton is a fireman and he kind of brings that fireman motto to the football field, first one in, last one out. That's the way he plays the game."
Tommy Milam, Brenton Lovins, Logan Morgan, Mike Newsome and even Shumate making a return to the line are also possibilities.
"We will run the same offense we have always run at Westside, but we are also coaching to personnel, something you really have to do," Halsey said. "We have more speed than we have had in the past."
On defense, coordinator Brandon Fleenor has some of the same concerns as Halsey.
"We have the same problems as the offense does," Fleenor said. "We are probably 7 to 8 players deep but we don't have experience. But (putting on) the pads will probably sort some of that out."
Fleenor said four players are fighting for time at the two defensive tackle spots in the Renegades 4-2-5 defense.
Logan Morgan, Brandon Lester, Mikey Newsome and Brenton Lovins are the top four.
At defensive end, Will Cook, Tommy Milam, Ian Bishop and Hunter Lester are all in the mix for playing time.
The linebacking corps returns starter Shumate at middle linebacker and Hunter Blankenship, Dakota Burgess and freshman Derek Taylor are all looking to break into the lineup. On the outside Goode and Hatfield are battling with Brandon Dixon, Connor Gibson and potentially Burgess for playing time.
The defensive backs are athletic and possess speed, with Ethan Blackburn, Daniel Reed and Parker Rolfe fighting for time at the two corner spots, and Keeney and Mosley are safeties.
Kicking this season will be either Cook or Reed, and Reed and Tommy Milam are punting in the preseason.
Halsey said the goals are for improvement from last year's 1-9 season.
"This is the first year that this will truly be our team," said Halsey, in his third year as head coach. "I think there is more of a camaraderie with this group of players we have. Do I think we can be a playoff team? Yes, I do. But, for that to happen, a lot of things are going to have to go right. And that is what we have to do with these guys."
The Renegades open with Liberty at home on Aug. 30.
2019 Westside High School
Aug. 30: Liberty Raleigh, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: at Wyoming East, 7:30
Sept. 13: Man, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20: at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27: at Independence, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4: Midland Trail, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11: James Monroe, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: OPEN DATE
Oct. 25: River View, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 1: Nicholas County, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: at Oak Hill, 7:30 p.m.
2019 Westside High School Roster
No. Name Cl1
Blake Goode So.
2 Austin Browning Jr.
3 Hunter Lester Sr.
4 Dalton Mullins Jr.
5 Isaac Mosley Sr.
7 Jacob Barlow Jr.
8 Ethan Blackburn Jr.
11 Parker Rolfe Sr.
12 Spencer Keeney Jr.
14 Will Cook Sr.
18 Jaxon Cogar Fr.
21 Cameron Hatfield Jr.
22 Daniel Reed Jr.
23 Brandon Dixon Jr.
25 Conner Gibson Jr.
30 Colton Moore So.
33 Dalton Harris So.
34 Joshton Reed Fr.
35 Dakota Burgess Jr.
50 Logan Shumate So.
54 R.J. Morgan Jr.
55 Dakota Hurley Jr.
56 Isaac Price Fr.
57 Zachary Paynter Fr.
58 Eric Lester Sr.
60 Isaiah Anthony Jr.
61 Chris Rowe Jr.
65 Jacob Haught Fr.
66 Colton Morgan Sr.
69 Logan Morgan Jr.
71 Donovan Toler So.
72 Hayden Kamits Fr.
73 Brenton Lovins So.
74 Michael Newsome Jr.
75 Brandon Lester Sr.
76 Auston Ball Jr.
77 Chase Belcher Jr.
78 Hunter Adams So.
79 Hunter Blankenship Jr.
80 Tommy Milam Jr.
83 Andy Elkins Fr.
88 Hansel Bledsoe Fr.
89 Blake Parsons Jr.