by Daniel Olsen | The Westlake Thunder have made some noise against their opponents, especially on the defensive end. They didn’t have enough to take down Herriman last Friday night as they lost a close 17-15 game.
Special Teams coordinator Steve Anderson said that, while his team has been stellar this season on special teams, they have missed a couple opportunities that made a big difference in the ball game.
They missed two field goals but one was because of a bad snap. They also missed a PAT and muffed a punt that gave Herriman a red zone opportunity which they converted into seven points. That’s a 14-point swing that made all the difference in a close game.
“Mason is a great kid,” said Anderson. “This is his first year kicking and he has a strong leg. He can hit from 50+ in practice, but he just needs to work on his consistency.”
The Bingham Miners present a challenge that Westlake hasn’t faced yet this season. While Woods Cross, Provo and Hunter are decent teams, the Miners will be a much tougher opponent than Herriman was last week.
Although Bingham lost to two great teams in Skyridge and Corner Canyon, they rebounded to beat Timpview 31-21 in a home game. The Miners have talented players and an experienced head coach in Dave Peck, who had won five state championship in his first stint with the team.
One impressive trait of this Thunder team is their stout defense.
“They aren’t the biggest or the most athletic, but we’ve been focusing on attacking wherever the ball is going,” said Anderson.
The defense has taken this to heart as they have significantly limited the rushing yards of opposing offenses. So far they have only allowed 11 points per game this season. Their best performance on that end was perhaps the season opener when they shut out Woods Cross High School 19-0.
“That first game really gave us some confidence and momentum,” said Anderson. “We don’t want to be satisfied with winning three games this season because it doesn’t get easier from here. It only gets tougher in our region.”
The Miners present a tough challenge for the Thunder with their size and physical strength. The Thunder will have to execute their plans they have formulated following their film study and scouting reports.
Some guys to look at on the Westlake side are the season statistical leaders on the defense:
Interceptions: Connor Grande (3)
Sacks: Jackson Lees (3)
Tackles: Brayden Perry (33)
Coach Anderson was quick to give credit to other guys on the defense that help the team in ways that don’t always appear on the box score.
“Spencer Heimuli really attacks those blocks which is what helps Brayden get all those tackles,” said Anderson. “Daniel Taumoepeau is also one of the leaders of our defense.”
While these guys and others like Cooper Cowan (safety) and Logan Ashton (linebacker) have the talent to compete somewhere at the collegiate level, they are facing a team that has Ute commit Viliami Pouha (Defensive End). Bingham has gone through some adversity but that will only make them stronger and hungry for this game. Westlake will have a stiff challenge as the hosting team.
“We need to respect our opponent but fear no one,” said Anderson.
Featured image via Westlake Thunder.