After hitting rock bottom in 2018, there’s nowhere left for the Huskies to go but up. At least that’s what they’re hoping for.
Hanford West went 0-10 last season — their worst record since 2006 when they also finished 0-10, according to MaxPreps — and finished last in the Central Sequoia League (0-5). The Huskies had a total of eight losses by 31 points or more, including five losses by 49 points or more. Their closest contest was a 27-20 week four loss to Sierra Pacific.
Now in his second season as head coach, Matthew Tesoriere said this season won’t necessarily be judged by wins and losses, but the team’s effort.
“As far as wins or losses, I think that’s going to be a byproduct of what we do on the field and at practice,” Tesoriere said. “I told them multiple times it’s what you’re willing to put in it’s what you’re going to get out of it, so you got to put in the work.”
The team is young at multiple positions with few returners and a squad of about 40 players, but Tesoriere added the team is learning and working on being fundamentally sound.
Defensively, the team struggled to get off the field and limit scoring. They allowed an average of 62.5 points per game and were gassed by halftime with almost their entire team playing both ways.
“We’re definitely working them harder, specifically the wide receivers and the DBs knowing that they’re going to have to play both ways probably going into the game,” Tesoriere said. “Their conditioning is a little ramped up compared to say maybe the linemen so we’ve already taken that into account.”
The other response was to move some coaches around to new areas, including Tesoriere who’s coaching the defensive line now. The focus is on gap control and making sure lanes are clogged to limit the opponent’s ability to run the ball — an area the team was overwhelmed in last season.
Offensively, the team scored an average of 23.9 points per game, but had trouble sustaining drives and limiting turnovers. Tesoriere said the team is going to “keep things simple” and run more basic plays because of the team’s youth.
Tesoriere also understands there are things that are out of his control such as playing in the CSL where there are multiple teams with established programs. Out of their five opponents in league, only one (Exeter) is in Division V like Hanford West. The rest (Central Valley Christian, Dinuba, Kingsburg, Selma) are all in Division IV or higher.
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Despite the poor showing last season, Hanford West wide receiver and defensive back Keantre Davis is hopeful about the team’s new campaign.
“We’re just practicing hard, we’re just getting that mindset ready to take everyone on,” Davis said.
His teammate Matthew Gonzalez said the team has done a 180 when it comes to the Huskies’ mannerisms and maturity.
“Just better attitude against coaches, teammates, everyone,” Gonzalez said. “Last year no one gave effort and this year we’re giving more effort, so I feel like we’re going to do better.”
Hanford West opens the season on Aug. 23 as the away team against Hanford in the 18th annual Dog Bowl. Hanford West has lost the last five Dog Bowls. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Neighbor Bowl.
Player to watch
Keantre Davis will be one to keep your eye on at Hanford West games this season. The 5-foot-11-inch, 170-pound wide receiver and defensive back is a three-year varsity starter and a leader for the Huskies.
“I just want to be the best corner because I’m more of a defensive player, but for a whole game I want to be the best player in the Valley,” Davis said.
Davis, a senior, will command the defense, while being explosive on the offensive side of the ball.
“I just hope to see him be a leader, make plays when he gets the ball in his hands because he’s capable of doing it,” Tesoriere said.