Conference/Region: 5A-I/East Valley
2008 record: 2-9, no playoffs
Coach: Greg Mendez, 2nd year, 2-9
Returning offensive starters: 2, including receiver Michael Romero.
Returning defensive starters: 3, including lineman John Holtz and linebacker Joe Rodriguez.
Outlook: Westwood welcomes a change of scenery and competition in the newly-formed East Valley Region, which figures to be easier to navigate. The Warriors struggled mightily last year in Mendez’s first year, so plenty of retooling needs to be done, particularly at the quarterback and running back spots. The little bit of experience returning is on the offensive line.
Mendez is also focusing on his senior class to provide leadership, which wasn’t what he expected last year.
Without experience at quarterback, Mendez plans on keeping the offense simple and utilizing a ground-oriented attack. Juan Zazueta is the heir apparent at quarterback and Valencio Gray has a chance to fill the void left by running back Jake Tyra.
With only a couple starters back on both sides of the ball, the Warriors will be patient. The schedule is not as imposing as it was so there are expectations of more wins. The first three or four games will set the tone.
Aug. 28 vs. Red Mountain
Sept. 4 vs. Gila Ridge
Sept. 11 at Mesa
Sept. 17 vs. Tucson
Sept. 25 at Perry
Oct. 2 vs. Marcos de Niza
Oct. 9 vs. Casa Grande
Oct. 16 at Skyline
Oct. 23 at Mountain Pointe
Oct. 30 vs. Desert Ridge
Nov. 6 at Gilbert
-- Sept. 11 at Mesa: Westwood lost a couple city rivals on its schedule (Mountain View and Dobson). This is the most longstanding, however, and one the Warriors look forward to most under the circumstances.
-- Sept. 17 vs. Tucson: One of two winnable home games in the first half of the season. The schedule is much tougher in October-November, so the Warriors need to take advantage of these earlier matchups.