WESTBROOK SENIORS. Pictured above, kneeling, from left: Carson Wiggins, Kason Campbell, Presley White, Bryce Wood, Will Noles, Micaiah Meyers, Cooper Long, Ridge McHugh. Standing, from left: Tanner Coley, Garrett Hall, Jesse Kantzler, Russell pair, Cole Patterson, Dylan Nuckols, Deacon Godfrey, Hall Bouleware, Grayson Wright. (Courtesy of Patrick Wright)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
With so many Westbrook Christian youngsters thrown into the proverbial fire last season, inexperience should not be a concern for 2020, as the Warriors bring back 18 seniors.
“I’m usually a poor mou-ther, but I like our team a whole lot,” said second-year head coach Drew Noles. “Offensively, we’ve got good size on our offensive line, we’ve got depth in running back and we feel like we’ve got 11 varsity receivers that can play. We have a quarterback who hasn’t missed a coach’s meeting since about the sixth grade, so he knows the ins and outs of everything we do.”
Westbrook looks to build upon a solid 2019 campaign that saw the Warriors go 8-4 record and notch the program’s first postseason victory in nine years. As the region’s No. 4 seed, Westbrook went on the road in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs and beat top-seeded Aliceville.
“I don’t know how many games we can win, but it’s going to take a good team to beat us,” said Noles.
Many top contributors to that team return this season. The offense welcomes back senior Will Noles at quarterback and senior Caiden Wyatt, sophomore Karmichael Cattling and freshman Asher Keck running back.
Noles threw and ran for over 1,300 yards along with 21 touchdowns, while Cattling ran for 1,078 yards and four TDs. Keck rushed for over 300 yards while handling kickoffs and punt returns.
At receiver, Noles has two solid targets at his disposal in juniors Ryan Scott and Carson Wiggins.
All-State, All-Area and All-Messenger senior tackle Hall Boulware anchors a veteran offensive line.
The team’s leading tackler returns in senior linebacker Bryce Wood, who finished with 111 stops. Sophomore Cade Phillips and seniors Garrett Hall and Cole Patterson will see action at linebacker. Hall had 53 tackles and two sacks in 2019.
“Defensively, we have what we think is a great linebacker group, and Bryce leads that,” said Noles. “Cade is an exceptional player for us at outside linebacker. Garrett’s a two year-starter who is coming back. Cole was injured last year but he’s back. We feel like we’ve got seven or eight linebackers. We’ve got eight defensive linemen that are pretty good, and a couple of those will play at the next level.
Wiggins, Scott and Cattling form the bulk of the secondary. Wiggins had 68 tackles last year.
Westbrook’s Class 2A Region 6 competition includes Gaston, West End, Sand Rock, Southeastern, Locust Fork, Spring Garden, Cleveland and Donoho.
“The mental thing we have to get over is feeling like we’ve arrived and being more consistent,” said Noles. “If you live your life in a rearview mirror, you’ve got a pretty good chance of running into something in front of you. We’re trying to focus on what is in front of us. We do mental training every week and it’s been something that has been really good for our program. Consistency and not focusing on the scoreboard are the things we’ve tried to get our guys to understand. We’ve got to focus on executing what we’re supposed to do every day.”
Noles believes the environment of a Christian-based school such as Westbrook serves his players well when adversity hits.
“With all the noise that goes on in the world today, you can listen and believe anything you want to hear, but the Bible says to keep our eyes on the prize and look to what is straight ahead and focus on that. Being a follower of Christ and truly believing in His word, it gives us something to lean on, because we know what lies ahead. No matter what we’re in, we’re victorious. That helps us every day.”
Katie Bohannon contributed to this article.