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Knights eager to replace big shoes on offense

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Shane McOwen's picture
SCOTT FALLERS of Westview catches a pass against Millennium last season. Fallers is in line to be the Knights’ quarterback this year after three-year starter Ryan Martinez graduates.  View photo by Ray Thomas
SCOTT FALLERS of Westview catches a pass against Millennium last season. Fallers is in line to be the Knights’ quarterback this year after three-year starter Ryan Martinez graduates. View photo by Ray Thomas

New quarterback, running backs ready to take mantle into 2017 offseason

Westview football has had a steady stream of success for more than a decade, in the midst of coaching changes and player turnover.

For its next trick, the team will look to continue its winning ways without two of its most successful stalwarts of all time.

The Knights lost three-year signal caller Ryan Martinez and back-to-back 2,000-yard rusher Tyler Vasko to graduation. Westview began spring practice May 8, and began the search to fill the shoes of those two offensive pillars, along with many positions across the offense and defense.

Second-year Westview coach Nick Gehrts said he's liked what he's seen from his team in the early portion of the offseason.

There's going to be lot of replacements on both sides of the ball,” Gehrts said. “We're going to be younger, but it's exciting. There are a lot of juniors who didn't really play a lot last year. They've waited their turn and are ready to step up.”

One former junior slotted in a starting spot is quarterback Scott Fallers. Fallers was Martinez's backup for the previous two seasons as a sophomore and junior, but still found ways to get on the field and make an impact in other positions, Gehrts said.

He's a really good athlete,” Gehrts said. “He can run and he makes really good throws. Right now, it's just working with him on decision making, and all that fun stuff. He's been great to work with and eager to learn.”

Fallers is 6 of 9 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown as a quarterback, but has also amassed 176 yards on the ground on just 15 carries, and has caught five passes for 96 yards and three touchdowns.

Any team would be hard pressed to replace the production of Vasko. He rushed for 2,000 yards in each of his junior and senior seasons, scoring 49 total touchdowns. He eclipsed the 100-yard-plus mark in 19 of 24 total games over the last two seasons. Gehrts is expecting a strong position battle at running back throughout the summer and preseason, he said.

I think there are four guys that can potentially replace Vasko,” Gehrts said. “Obviously, those are big shoes to fill. I think they're all capable, and all four have the ability to get the job done. It's going to be a battle, and I'm excited for it.”

Westview's offense has anywhere from one to three running backs on the field at the same time, clearing room for another potential two- or three-headed monster out of the backfield.

We'll definitely have somewhere for them to play, but it'll be a nice little battle going on,” Gehrts said.

Year 2

Gehrts said this spring practice session has been an overall easier process than last year, when he first took over the program from Joe Parker, who's now at Arizona Christian University.

This spring has been a lot smoother than last spring,” Gehrts said. “The kids are more used to each other, the coaches are more used to each other. We're a lot further ahead now than where we were a year ago.

Joe and [former coach Jeff] Bowen did a great job creating the culture. The big part of it is keeping the culture and implementing my little stamp on things, too.”

The Knights have a busy summer planned, with weight-room sessions and passing league competitions just on the horizon.

We have a ton of passing league [games] set up,” Gehrts said. “We know we're replacing a three-year starter [at quarterback], so a lot of passing league will do us good.”

Westview will travel to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., for its annual preseason camp.

We're there for a week, go to the beach, Six Flags, all that stuff,” Gehrts said.

Westview will look to improve on an 8-3 record in 2016, where the Knights lost in the first round of the 6A playoffs to Mesa Desert Ridge.

 

Shane McOwen can be reached at smcowen@westvalleyview.com or on Twitter @ShaneMcOwen.

 



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