West HC David Woodard reflects on his teams success and looks ahead at Mt. Vernon
Friday, 3rd December 2021 - 6:15AM

Garrett Ross

In what’s arguably been the best season for Central Texas high school football teams in the past decade, eight teams within the Greater Waco area are still alive heading into this weekend. One of those teams who have garnered statewide attention this season is the #4 West Trojans.

West (13-0, 6-0) is coming off an impressive defensive slugfest against #10 Malakoff, where the Trojans were able to rely on their defense to secure the 14-12 victory to keep their state championship dreams alive. Head coach David Woodard feels like the experience of his team plays a key role in their success this season.

“Experience. A lot of those guys started on defense during that 4-7 year. These guys have played in this system since they were 7th graders and know our defense really well. Also, our defensive staff, led by Coach Dustin Sowders, does an outstanding job of preparing our kids each and every week,” said Woodard. “Our kids are physical and love playing defense. They understand exactly what we want to do and how it needs to be done for us to be successful.”

Being able to watch this group of kids grow has been something that Woodard hasn’t taken for granted. After that 4-7 season, the Trojans have continued to improve, as they went 9-3 last season and now remain undefeated this year.

“It's been great to watch. Our kids have a great desire to be successful. In that 4-7 season, our young kids got a great deal of playing time. We started 2 freshmen and 2 sophs on the OL. We actually played more freshmen and sophomores that year than we did juniors and seniors. There were some growing pains,” said Woodard. “The great part of that is the young kids knew what they needed to to get themselves ready to compete at a high level. They have done a great job of working to prep themselves for this year's run.”

West proved that they have the resiliency to win close games last week, but they also have the ability to dominate teams as well. The Trojans held eight different opponents to under 15 points this season and they’ve outscored the opposition 564-148.

“Again...I think it's experience...I think that it is also the work these guys put in throughout the year. Our athletic period is a vital part of our program and we try to teach and instill the little things to make us successful,” said Woodard. “These kids have bought into our program and have a great desire to be successful at whatever they are doing.”

In small town communities across the state of Texas, a high school football team can become the pulse. While West is traditionally known as a baseball powerhouse, this group of gridiron Trojans has created a buzz within the community.

“Our community loves it. They are so excited for our kids and the success we are having. They have really shown up to support us and we can not thank them enough,” said Woodard. “Our community deserves all of our athletic teams to be successful and we are working hard to bring that to our community.”

The Trojans will now shift their focus towards their third top-10 opponent in the past six weeks, as they get set to take on #3 Mt. Vernon (13-0, 7-0) in the UIL 3A DI Regional Finals. Mt. Vernon is coming off an impressive 40-14 victory over Gladewater last week and Woodard knows his team is in for a battle.

“The speed at which they play. They put some much pressure on you to get lined up. They are able to take advantage of your mistakes and create big plays from it. We have to make sure we get lined up. Any little misalignment could allow them to create a big play,” said Woodard. “We also need to make sure that we disguise and vary our looks. Anything we can do to slow them down or make them second guess themselves.”

He continued.

“Lastly, we have to control the clock on offense. If we can keep them off the field and keep them out of rhythm, hopefully it will keep them from doing what they want to do.”

West and Mt. Vernon will kick things off tonight at 7:00pm at The Star in Frisco. The winner will face #2 Brock, who defeated Whitesboro 49-14 on Thursday night.
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