The last three years of Akron-Westfield football have been uncharacteristic to say the least, and it looked like last year would be the start of the turnaround. The Westerners played good competitive football all season but found themselves ending the year 4-5 and missing the playoffs. Four of the Westerners’ games were decided by seven points or fewer with the Westerners going 1-3 in those games. Head football coach Eric Walkingstick says this year is focused on doing small things better to be able to win those close games.
Things will look very different for the Akron-Westfield offense following the graduation of quarterback Cade Walkingstick who threw for nearly 2,000 yards and nine touchdowns last year. Laytin Koch has emerged in camp as the favorite to take over the reigns of the offense. Coach Walkingstick says that, while Koch is young, he’s excited to see what the junior can do.
The other key piece of the Westerner offense came in the backfield with running back Ian Blowe. The junior ran for 825 yards and nine touchdowns in his sophomore year. Giving him holes to run through could prove tricky to start the year though. As Coach Walkingstick explains, the entire offensive line will be brand new guys.
The area the Westerners will not need to worry about is guys who can play the skill positions. Coach Walkingstick says he is not able to get all of those guys reps on offense, so their services will be needed on defense to have an impact.
The Westerners have the athleticism and the ability to be successful on defense, but athleticism isn’t always enough. Coach Walkingstick says the guys still need to develop a fire within for the Westerners to be on their game defensively.
Akron-Westfield opens the year at Lawton-Bronson in a game that was decided by one possession last season. Kickoff will be at 7:00 on Friday night. Our sister station, Y Country 101.3 in Sioux City, will be broadcasting the game live. You can listen to that game by clicking here.
Click below to listen to the full interview with Akron-Westfield head football coach Eric Walkingstick.