Westhill football are delighted to be able to take part in off-season training

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The last off-season has been difficult for the Westhill football team and it showed on the pitch when the season started in the fall as the team went 0-10 in the first season of the coach Aland Joseph.

Joseph was hired in March 2021, long after a team would normally have been immersed in winter training.

To make matters worse, the team were not allowed into the Westhill weight room until May due to COVID-19 restrictions in place at the school.

So the best moment of this off-season?

“Having an offseason is good,” Joseph said. “Last year we didn’t really have an off-season. This time we have been training since the winter when the season ended. It’s been a huge benefit, being in the weight room and stuff like that. We have seen some evolution. At the end of the day, you face big, strong, fast teams and you can never get enough in the weight room. We didn’t get a chance to get into the weight room last year until May and that really hurt us and showed through the season. Being in the weight room and having Zoom meetings so the kids can start learning earlier helps.

While Connecticut’s high school teams didn’t have spring football, part of the team was able to come out and play together at the annual Grip it and Rip it 7-on-7 tournament in New Canaan this past weekend.

“Without a spring ball, that’s the weather we get and we have to take advantage of every time we can play football,” Joseph said. “You can learn a lot about your quarterbacks and we always evaluate our quarterbacks and try to find where the guys fit. What’s better than playing against some of the best teams in the region? That’s why we come to play here every year.

The team will be young again with more sophomores expected on the varsity roster than juniors and seniors when training camp begins in mid-August.

This leaves current seniors in the position of teaching younger players as well as being players themselves.

“Right now we’re learning how we all play together,” said Westhill senior David Moodie. “The younger ones are stepping up and making a lot of plays and they’re getting their feet wet… and that’s very important. When the season comes around we have to be ready. We’re just focused on being here together and playing. hold everyone accountable.

Moodie led the charge in the offseason as captain, trying to improve his team despite the lack of formal sessions.

“We go out on the pitch on days off and we just work to improve. We try to improve even when the coaches aren’t watching. That’s how we prepare,” Moodie said. “We can teach a lot of things to the younger ones. Right now we are teaching them the fundamentals and the basics. We have to teach them that the college ball is not that, it’s a new type of football. The fundamentals are what everyone needs. You don’t have to be the biggest or the fastest or the strongest in this league if you know your fundamentals and what your job is on the court.

Moodie said he likes 7v7 because it allows players to play against players outside of the program.

“It’s always great to come out and compete. You can see who has that dog in them. We’ve got a lot of these guys, we’ve got a lot of dogs on our team and we’re ready to work,” Moodie said. “The younger guys are really stepping up and the older guys are holding the younger guys accountable. We unite as one and become one team.

The Vikings had a tough schedule in 2021, including three teams (Greenwich, Hamden and St. Joseph) that made the CIAC State Playoffs in addition to games against perennial powerhouses Trumbull, Staples and Ridgefield.

In fact, of his 10 opponents in 2021, only two (Stamford and Danbury) had losing records. Westhill lost 14-7 to Stamford on Thanksgiving.

This season, schedulers have been a bit kinder to the Vikings who will play what look like competitive games on paper against Bassick, Wilbur Cross, Bridgeport Central and Stamford.

Greenwich, Ridgefield, Staples and St. Joseph remain on the schedule.

Joseph hopes the 7-on-7 time will only help once the Vikings take the field for real in September, but only time will tell.

“We have a lot of young guys, so any work we can get, as far as learning our program goes, is an advantage,” Joseph said. “We film everything and that allows us to teach what pattern we want for our guys and see how it fits.”

[email protected]; @EricsonSports

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