HOLLAND, Mich — West Ottawa had Rockford beat last season in the playoffs, before an interception, onside kick and 2 touchdowns ended their season in the final minutes of the district final at Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium. As the Panthers begin 2013 they haven’t forgotten how last season ended and are anxious for the opportunity of a new year. “We are excited to get out here, we finished last season off, we finished too short as we all know and we want to get back out here and it’s nice to get popping again” 3rd year head coach Rory Zegunis said.
West Ottawa has seen its season end at the hands of the Rams in the playoffs each of the last 3 seasons, and they know to get where they want to go, they’ll have to get by Rockford. “Right now we want to focus on Canton, we like the idea of starting of starting the season in Detroit and we want to end the season there. We know that you have to get through Rockford when you want to continue on in the state playoff race and we’ve struggled to do that the last couple of years, it’s been a main focus of ours to say we need to be able to get over that hump” Zegunis said.
The Panthers return some solid players from last seasons team that finishes 8-3. Running back James Lacy is as fast as they come and linebacker Mason Dekker hits as hard as they come. There is talent on both sides of the ball, perhaps the biggest question mark is at quarterback where the graduated Trevor VanTubbergen leaves some big shoes to fill. Competing for the starting qb spot are brothers Jared and Caleb McNitt, both have played the position their entires lives until last season when Jared played linebacker. “We bring different things to the table than he (VanTubbergen) did and we just have to play our game and do the things we do well consistently” Jared McNitt said.
West Ottawa starts the season at Canton on August 29 before coming home to play Grand Ledge, the game against Rockford will be home on September 27th. “We just have to finish, we are in all of our games we just have to push through and finish in the 4th quarter and finish out our games” senior wide receiver and safety Alex Zimmeramn said.