West defense in search of Ws this year
Aug. 30, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
More often than not last season, teams playing Victoria West were able to go down field and find the end zone.
Now the Warriors, their new coordinator, new defensive scheme and even uniforms look to lead the program in a new and better direction in 2012.
"Last year a lot of people liked to do their own thing and we didn't work as a team," said senior linebacker Xavier Ramos. "This year we have way more heart. Last year we had skill players, don't get me wrong, but this year who needs skill when you have heart?"
Former Bloomington head coach Randy Perez makes the cross-county move to West this season as defensive coordinator.
Perez said he wants to put the team's personnel in the best position to succeed and he implemented a 3-3-5 stack defense this season.
In 2011, teams scored an average of 27 points per game against the Warriors and the West defense allowed 379 yards per game.
West head coach Leonard McAngus said one of the keys to improvement is having a plan to stop what offenses give them.
"The fundamentals of defense, tackling, getting off blocks, running to the football, all of those things are going to play a big key," McAngus said.
Before coming to West, Perez was head coach for two seasons at Bloomington, Corpus Christi Ray and Austin Lanier. He made stops as an assistant at Justin Northwest, Gonzales and Temple.
Perez admitted that the new defense will take some getting used to and there will be a learning curve, but his goal is to have everything come together by the first game.
"By the first game, I hope that I can say no matter what snap it is, we've got kids attacking, reacting to what they need to do and running to the football," Perez said. "If we can do that by the first game, we'll be OK."
Ramos and junior free safety Jacob Armstrong are the top returning starters for the Warriors.
Ramos had 92 tackles and an interception a year ago. McAngus said he looks for the 6-foot-1, 200-pound linebacker to be a defensive leader this year.
"He's a fiery personality and those types of things we need on our defense," McAngus said.
In a game that is often dictated by momentum, the West defense is looking to come up with more big plays than it did last year.
In 2011, the Warrios forced 15 turnovers, but only six came in District 30-4A play. West managed just 14 sacks on the opposing quarterback last year.
"Takeaways happen when you're hustling," Perez said. "That's the No. 1 thing is to get our kids moving, pursuing and attacking. I think if we can take care of that, then the turnovers will happen."
Added Armstrong: "Everytime you get a sack or a fumble, it motivates your whole team."
Last season, the Warriors allowed 251 yards rushing per game and 349 yards rushing per game in district play. West allowed 28 rushing touchdowns.
West was 2-8 overall and 0-5 in district a year ago. McAngus said stopping other teams from running, and coincidentally, running the ball will go a long way to helping the Warriors get back to the postseason.
"Two things I think we didn't do last year, we didn't stop the run very well and we didn't run the ball very well," McAngus said. "In a district where most of the people run the football, we've got to be able to stop."
The Warriors open district play on Oct. 5 at home against Beeville and are the visitor for the annual cross-town matchup against Victoria East on Oct. 12.
West hosts defending district champion Calhoun on Oct. 19 then travels to district favroite Calallen on Oct. 26 and closes out the year on Nov. 9 at Gregory-Portland.