Photo By Kelly Magee - #23 Ryan Beckstead
Written by Dylan Carder, Sports Director KIFI/KIDK
In 2018, West Side rolled through the season before suffering its one and only loss in the 2A state semifinals to eventual champ Declo. That team had what head coach Tyler Moser called “a very good group of seniors,” saying he had lost too many to mention. However, he has confidence that his new crop of seniors are capable of being special on their own.
Entering his 12th year as head coach, Moser notes that they have always been in the shadow of last year's seniors, but “they are excited to prove to everyone that they can accomplish great things. The ceiling for this group is very high.” He adds that they have stepped up and filled the leadership role left vacant by the graduating class from a season ago.
Where this senior class will really make its mark on this team is on the offensive line. Moser says that the big boys up front are going to have to be the strength as the Pirates are going to be young a several skill positions in 2019.
Coming back for this season are a handful of all-conference 2nd team players. Isaac Frankman is back on the offensive line. Amrando Montano returns to the defensive line. Running back and defensive back Ryan Beckstead and tight end Jaxon Moser will also be back in uniform for the Pirates. Two way lineman Hunter Abbot will also be a key returner for West Side.
This team may not be as talented as it was a year ago, but Moser believes that the chemistry this season could actually be better than the team that went 10-1 in 2018. With them being a young team overall, Moser says they will need to make sure they are fundamentally sound and focus on getting the basics down. Creating turnovers was a big part of the Pirates success last season. This year's team will need to build on that.
There will be chances for them to be tested early with a couple of 3A teams on the schedule. The Pirates will be making trips to Snake River and Marsh Valley in weeks two and three. West Side picked up a victory over the Eagles last season.
West Side will be one of the favorites to win the conference once again this season. Aberdeen looks like it could be the biggest threat. Their showdown September 27 in Aberdeen could very well be the game that decides who goes to the 2A state playoffs with the top seed out of district 5. If the improved chemistry can outweigh the drop off in talent, the Pirates could be in contention for a sixth state championship.