Last year was no different as the Wildcats (5-7) earned their sixth consecutive trip to the postseason and advanced to the second round of the AA playoffs
Westminster is in good shape to continue that streak with an experienced team that is well stocked at the skill positions on both offense and defense.
“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Westminster coach Gerry Romberg said. “We have a good group of returning players this year. We have a good group of seniors, at our skill positions; we have a lot of returning players. We have a returning starter at quarterback and we’ve got two running backs who played a lot last year and are returning. We’re as deep at running back and wide receiver as we’ve ever been.”
Senior running back/linebacker Cameron Seward is also optimistic about the team’s prospects.
We had a good preseason,” Seward said. “We have a lot of good athletes. The guys are working hard. We have a tough schedule, but we should be pretty successful and we’re looking to make a deep run in state.”
The development of a strong offensive line continues to be a concern for Romberg.
“Typically, we don’t get a lot in size here at Westminster, so we’re trying to create some depth on the offensive line,” Romberg said. “That was a big focus in camp — identifying those players on the offensive line and creat[ing] some depth. We want to create some depth, some rotation, in the line.”
Westminster does have 6-foot-6, 275-pound senior standout Sam Schmal, an offensive tackle who has committed to Boston College, to provide some needed size on the line.
Senior offensive guard Austin Chapman also brings some size as well at 6-4, 235 pounds, as does junior center Russell Ude at 6-2, 260 pounds.
Seward, who will be joining Schmal at Boston College next fall, returns after leading the team in all-purpose yards last year.
Senior quarterback Jake Forte also comes back to provide a boost for the Wildcat offense, along with senior wide receivers Nelson Douglas and Jake Johnson, sophomore receivers Rankin Woley and Nygel Edmonds and senior tight end Ross Johnston.
Seward is also a key player on defense at linebacker, where he was second on the team in tackles with 69.
Schmal (defensive end) as well as Chapman and Ude (both defensive tackles) lead the defensive line, while strong safety Douglas and defensive backs Edmonds and Johnson play key roles in the secondary.
Romberg said he is confident that the Wildcats will earn their usual spot in the AA state playoffs.
“We always want to make the playoffs,” he said. “We always come into the season with that as our goal. When you get to the playoffs, you roll the dice and play as hard as you can. Winning the state championship is always in the back of your mind, but we’ve got to make the playoffs first and that’s our goal.”
Aug. 22; Blessed Trinity
Aug. 30; at St. Pius X
Sept. 6; Laney
Sept. 13; at Thomasville
Sept. 20; at Woodward
Sept. 27; Thomson
Oct. 11; GAC*
Oct. 18; Wesleyan*
Nov. 1; at Lovett*
Nov. 8; at Hapeville*
*denotes region game