In his 29th season as a City League coach, West’s Weston Schartz is adapting where need be. In other areas, he’s less receptive to change.
Offenses have went mostly airborne and elastic, to the spread, and his defenses have had to change. He knows his run-heavy offense, which his defense has to practice against every day, can be cumbersome.
Defenses, however, still have to line up in the box if you put seven guys on the line. That’s the same as it was 29 years ago.
“Our offense, we’re downhill, we run and we get to practice against that a lot,” Schartz said. “And that’s been our Achilles heel, because of the pass and all the spread teams now.
“What we can still do is coach the kids to play hard, and there’s not a lot of nonsense when it comes to that. We as coaches are pretty passionate about this, and the senior class we have this year is pretty passionate about what they do. They’re different. They’re unique in that it’s our fourth year back, and it’s their fourth year. They want to get after it.”
Schartz has 27 seniors this season — the most he has had in either his first stint at West from 1987 to 2001, or since coming back in 2012.
Leading the way is 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior quarterback Chaz Capps, an honorable mention All-Class 6A pick last season. Capps started four games at quarterback as a freshman, split time at quarterback and played defensive back as a sophomore and was the full-time starter last season.
After the Pioneers went 2-8 last year with a rugged schedule — they had to forfeit wins over North and East because of the use of an ineligible player — they went back to work right away.
“We moved past it, because we felt like we won those games,” Capps said. “But it was a bummer that had to happen. Once the season was over, in the winter through now, we’ve gone back to work to get better. We’ve got a lot of seniors, and we’ve been grinding together.”
Despite its struggles, West made the state playoffs for the second straight season in 2014.
“When we took the program back over four years ago, we were doing it from ground zero,” Schartz said. “We had to do some things different. We had to get them in the weight room ... they’ve come a long ways.”