2018-07-06 / Sports

Curtis looks for consistency from Westwood

By Josh Cruse


The Westwood Redhawks enter year three under head coach Dustin Curtis. The Westwood Redhawks enter year three under head coach Dustin Curtis. The Westwood Redhawks saw some improvement in year two under head coach Dustin Curtis. Despite some up and down times in 2017, Westwood finished with a 6-6 record, a four–game improvement over the 2016 season, and made it to the second round of the 4A playoffs.

While the progress is a plus, Curtis still wants to see more consistency from his team, especially on offense. Delivering on that consistancy early on could be a challenge for the Redhawks considering Curtis will be breaking in a new quarterback in 2018 after the graduation of Elijah Heatley. Ahmon Green and Cam Atkins will be competing for the starting job. Both are big athletic players, who can each play other positions on offense.

Jalan Briggman will move to running back after playing cornerback last year. He brings an explosiveness to the position. DaShawn Boyd will compete with Briggman for playing time. Boyd is a different type of running back, providing more power with the potential of being an every down back.

Cortes Braham and Christian Horn return to lead the wide receivers. Branham led the Redhawks in receiving last year with 629 yards. T.J. Blanding and Cam Smith will play both wide receiver and defensive back.

Along the offensive line, Curtis is looking for more consistency from a unit that had a tough time providing any in 2017. While not singling any particular player out, Curtis said the line needs to step up this season.

The defensive line was the hardest hit unit at Westwood last season, primarily due to graduations. Matt Brown, Avery Pearson, and Joseph Washington are ready to step up and fill the holes left by the departures.

Cameron Maynard, Will Samuel, Kristopher Hill-Latimer, LeRoy Isaac, and Jeremiah Hightower will all compete for playing time at linebacker. Maynard is a high energy guy, while Samuel moves from safety to outside linebacker after Curtis decided to switch to a 3-4 defense.

Talent abounds in

Redhawks’ secondary where Blanding and Cam Smith will be the leaders on and off the field. The other two positions are up for grabs in the fall.

Micky Strother is recovering from an injury, but Curtis hopes he will be able to return and provide a solid presence in the kicking game. Andrew Pohorence is also recovering from injury, but will compete for the punting job. Cortes Braham filled in as punter last season and did very well according to Curtis.

As Curtis enters his third year at Westwood, he said the offseason program has been the best yet.

Improvement for the Redhawks is a necessity considering the region they compete in. While most teams will adjust to realignment, the region and classification stay the same for Westwood. That means the battles with York, Lancaster, and South Pointe will continue. The Stallions of South Pointe have made life difficult for pretty much everyone in 4A, however, playing them as well as the rest of the region opponents prepares Westwood for the playoffs, according to Curtis. The Redhawks proved that with a first round upset against North Augusta last year.

Curtis wants to see improvement from the program this season. The 2018 version of the Westwood Redhawks may be the best team Curtis has fielded so far, however with a tough schedule it may be hard to determine that based on wins and losses. However, if the past is any indication, don’t be surprised if the Redhawks make some noise in the playoffs in 2018.

Head Coach:
Dustin Curtis
(3rd season)
Overall Record: 8-14
2017 record: 6-6

2017 playoffs: Lost to
Eastside 48-15 in the
second round of the
4A playoffs.

2017 Results
Chester 30-23 W
Westside 13-33 L
South Florence 39-14 W
Blythewood 28-9 W
Dutch Fork 7-67 L
Lancaster 36-29 W
South Pointe 7-48 L
York 17-45 L
Ridge View 3-28 L
RNE 39-10 W

Playoffs
North Augusta 23-13 W
Eastside 15-48 L

Points per game:
Westwood: 26.6
Opponents: 22.1

5-year win trend
2013: 6
2014: 11
2015: 9
2016: 2
2017: 6

2018 Schedule
Aug. 17 vs. Lugoff-Elgin
Aug. 24 at Blythewood
Aug. 31 at Lower Richland
Sept. 14 vs. South Aiken
Sept. 21 vs. Fairfield
Central
Sept. 28 at South Pointe
Oct. 5 at York
Oct. 12 at Ridge View
Oct. 19 at Lancaster
Oct. 26 vs. Richland
Northeast

2017 Regular
Season Stats
Rushing offense 111.5
Passing Offense 202.6
Total Offense 314.1

2016 Stat leaders
Passing: Elijah Heatley,
1,698 yards
Rushing: Jaylon Riley,
715 yards
Receiving: Cortez
Branham, 629 yards

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