West Ottawa Football Changes


Jake Holstege

“On you Panthers. On you Panthers. Wearing black and white.” The fight song is traditionally sung by the crowd and the players after a West Ottawa Varsity Football team win. It was not sung a lot in the 2016 season. However, this season the football team is 5-1 already beating their total wins from last season and looking to take the lead in the OK Red. They have made many changes throughout the offseason, and these changes have helped the program significantly.

  One of the major changes includes watching films before school on Mondays and Tuesdays. Film is where the team watches their opponents from previous football games, so they know what plays to expect. This helps the team prepare for the next game. Specifically, in the game against Hudsonville, the new coverages came in handy. After watching film, the team was able to conclude that Hudsonville usually passed exclusively on third down. So, when the first third down came up, Oshnock sent out his special defense. The play was a pass as the panthers suspected, and suddenly the ball was in the air. Interception. Sr. Xavier Wade was in the perfect spot; he caught the ball and took off. This play is known as “nickel”. One player is taken out and Wade is put onto the field. There is a line of 3 defensive back who are in charge of guarding the first down or the touchdown. This play is thanks to film sessions before school.

  The second major change includes new practice plans. During the offseason, Coach Ryan Oshnock purchased a period clock that dictates the timing of our practices. Each practice is organized to do each drill for five minutes. Each practice is 22-28 periods of football. Before practice the team is told how many periods practice will be. This teaches us discipline and keeps us on schedule to get us out at a good time. With the practice drill it ensures players will give their all in every period because they know that they will only be giving it for a short amount of time.

  Football players carry this discipline into the games. Jr. Matt Cox believes that the period clock is a great addition to our team practices. “The period clock helps us because it allows to do more drills during practice without getting sidetracked.  We are on a tight schedule so there’s no time for messing around which really helps our game plan.”

  Finally, one more large change includes a new defensive passing scheme. New Defensive Coordinator Justin Caserta and Oshnock have come together to produce new schemes each week in order to stop the offense’s passing attempts. This was evident in the game against the Falcons of East Kentwood. They provided specific plays for each of the Falcons different offensive schemes. These schemes put Jr. Jason Fairfield in the perfect spot that night. Fairfield came out of the night with two interceptions and two balls that could have been interceptions. These four plays tremendously helped the Panthers win against the 4-1 falcons.Oshnock and Caserta have been working hard all year and it is definitely showing off.

  Sr. Chet Johnson has noticed some visible changes throughout the atmosphere in the crowd and on the field as well. Johnson is always in the front row of the Back hole, and has a good idea of everything that is happening throughout the stadium. “Well I mean it’s bigger, I think because we’re better,” Johnson said regarding the crowd size. Not only does Johnson see the changes throughout the crowd, but he also believes that the team is much more energetic on the field. Johnson added, “ [Oshnock] is just styling out there. The best swag I’ve seen in a coach other than Harbaugh.” Finally, Johnson added that he wants to see more changes in the Black Hole and wants them to be LOUD.

  To see these changes, check us out at the homecoming game against Rockford. The game is  Friday at seven.