West football: Schartzs arrival may not bring immediate dividends
In 25 seasons of coaching football at West and Northwest, Weston Schartz has had four losing seasons and won 155 games.
Its no surprise that his return to West, where he coached from 1987 to 2001, taking the Pioneers to the Class 6A title game in 1997, has been met with excitement and high expectations. But the return of Schartz, who spent the past 10 seasons at Northwest, doesnt mean West is suddenly going to challenge for the Class 5A title or even the City League title.
I dont have a magic wand, he said. Well just work hard. Get back to basics, running, blocking, tackling. Let them understand that we have to work hard to win games. Bring back that blue-collar mentality. Were going to build up our defense; thats how we used to win. If you play defense, you better get after it.
West has won 17 games in the past 10 years, including three one-win seasons and a winless record in 2007. Turning that around wont be immediate.
As Schartz points out, theres plenty of question marks for the Pioneers, such as who will be the focus of a run-oriented offense. Gone is Arnez Jones, who ran for a City League-high 1,405 yards on 298 carries. The yardage ranks him 18th in single-season league history.
Trevon Mitchell could be a key there, along with junior Danny Jones, a dual-threat quarterback who transferred from North.
The offensive and defensive lines will have four senior starters, which helps, but depth could be an issue.
Our defensive-line depth will be our Achilles heel, Schartz said. We will have a lot of two-way guys, so well be trying to find other defensive linemen who can fill in and get going.
He spoke highly of the linebacking corps, which he considers a strength with Mitchell, Nic Day, Angel Fonseca and Marcus Malcolm.
Well blitz a lot, Schartz said. We cant sit back. We have a lot of speed, and we will bring seven, eight people. We wont be a read defense, we dont have enough time. But well be aggressive and take some chances and get after it.
Depth across the board will be an issue, so platooning isnt even a consideration, even though Schartz is pleased with the number of players out.
Were not overly fast, not overly big, Schartz said. Our determination will be our strength. I think well be fighters. Thats the No. 1 thing we need to instill. Thats the No. 1 thing I think West High has lost.