KENMORE — Kenmore West coach Rich Harris has virtually a brand new team — three first-team all-Western New York selections graduated in June. Though his team is young and inexperienced, he expects his players to compete with every team they line up against.
“We lost quite a crew,” Harris said. “(But) we’ve had a great deal of success of late winning AA North regular season the last two seasons and making playoffs four of the last five years. There’s a lot of depth, interest and excitement about the football program at Ken West. We have a lot of great players in the wings.”
Harris was able to watch his team in game action for the first time in scrimmages last weekend, and he was happy with what he saw. Juniors Alex Price and Adam Fron performed well against several teams, including Clarence. Fron will quarterback a West team that plans to be diverse in its game plan. The option-heavy attack includes several spread, one-back and shotgun formations in an effort to keep defenses off balance.
Kenmore West is an inexperienced squad, which is a concern for Harris but he’s excited at the possibilities that accompany building a team, especially with a group that will be in place for two or three years. It’s become his recipe for success.
“It’s a very young team and actually a team I’m probably going to have together for the next two years,” Harris said. “There’s not a lot of experience. You better believe it helps (to have a group together for a few years). It’s almost like we’re rebuilding again like we had to with the team that just graduated. They all played for me as sophomores and were with the program for three years.”
Senior linebacker Joe Fumerelle is the leader on a defense that stays at home and forces opposing offenses to execute consistently. Harris doesn’t blitz often because he believes in the fundamentals. Senior Josh Roe is also a player to watch in the defensive backfield for the Blue Devils.
Harris said that there are about 140 players in the Ken West pipeline, and the JV and modified programs were very successful last season — modified went undefeated. But Harris isn’t expecting every player to seamlessly make the transition to varsity football. It’s a different and more physical game that requires an adjustment period for some players.
The young Kenmore West team will begin its quest for the playoffs against AA South powerhouse Jamestown on Friday night. Harris’s goals are clear and, despite inexperience, he expects his young team to compete for a championship.
“We want to win the division again and make it a three-peat,” Harris said. “If we can kind of weather the storm at the beginning of the season and get these guys some experience and cut down on mistakes, we’ll see how this team develops.”
2011 Record: 7-2 Coach: Rich Harris Key Losses: RB Martin Bailey RB Marcus Lobdell OL Brandon Lathrop S Nick Hersey Key Players: LB Joe Fumerelle RB Alex Price QB Adam Fron DB Josh Roe
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