There weren't many teams in Michigan that saw a five win improvement last fall over their 2019 record, especially with a shortened season.
However, West Catholic was one of those teams, going from 1-8 overall in 2019 to 6-2 last season. They're now riding a lot of momentum and are confident they can improve this season as well.
"I credit the kids' work ethic and then just realizing the culture that we've set, that's really to outwork everyone and not care about the other noise around us," said head coach Justin Michalowski.
The returning players from last year's teams say the locker room and attitudes were simply different, which helped the team find success.
"My team last year made a decision to change," said senior left tackle Kyle Kloska. "They wanted the culture to change and they wanted to be better than the last team. They put in the effort in the off-season and in the locker room everything got a lot better."
Senior quarterback Noah Arsulowicz is one of 13 starters that return from that improved team in 2020.
"Obviously to go from 1-8 to 6-2, winning five more games than we did the year prior, I think we can do that again honestly, make a big run in the playoffs," he added. "We just keep working hard in the off-season like we did the year before and the leadership needs to take a step up."
Justin Michalowski is entering his third year as head coach at West and says he's learned a lot since that first season at the helm.
He's now raising his own expectations for not only himself but the program as a whole.
"As I told my team, nobody hired me to make the playoffs," he told FOX 17. "Sure, it was a nice turnaround but this community deserves state championships and that's the goal as we move forward every season."
The Falcons will rely heavily upon 13 returning starters, including eight on defense where the team allowed just ten points per game in their six wins.
This year's team motto is all about believing and unselfishness.
"Coach has been preaching selfless over selfish and that's really building on our team," Arsulowicz added. "All of the players are starting to realize how important that is and how we have to put each other over ourselves and we can do big things."
Last season, the Falcons suffered just one loss in OK Blue play, and that was to eventual conference champion Unity Christian.
The players know how tough the conference and their schedule will be again this fall.
"The OK blue this year will be a lot tougher, Coopersville and Fruitport have a lot of good players and athletes and obviously Spring Lake and Unity Christian have always had good athletes and teams, so it'll be fun," Kloska mentioned.
The Falcons will get their 2021 campaign kicked off on the road at Forest Hills Eastern on Thursday, August 26.