Two big changes at Westlake High will define the 2013 football season.
Westlake is making the jump to Class 5A, and it's doing so with new coach Steve Clements.
"I'm brand new, so it's like starting a new program," said Clements, who is not new to being a successful high school coach. The former BYU quarterback won a Class 3A state title as the coach of Lehi in 2000 and said success takes time to accomplish.
"It's not a one-year thing," Clements said. "This is a program I'm trying to build, and I have to lay a foundation for that program to be built on. I have to think big picture."
As for the move to 5A, Clements said it's not something he thinks about.
"I don't care if we're 3A or 5A," he said. "We play whoever's on the schedule."
Westlake's motto this season is that football will be hard fun.
"Football is a lot of work, and there's a lot of accountability," Clements said.
He demands that his players work hard, but he rewards them, like he did at the end of a padded camp in late June when city firefighters came after practice and made a giant slip-and-slide for the players.
In building Westlake, Clements is trying to instill a toughness that will manifest itself to opposing teams.
"The kids will not quit, they will not let up," Clements said. "We're going to compete for four quarters, and overtime if we have to. Win or lose, teams will know that they played Westlake when they walk off the field. They'll remember playing Westlake."
ASSIGNMENT • Region 4
LAST YEAR • 4-6 overall, 2-3 Region 7
KEY RETURNER • Tione Finau, sr., OL. The 6-foot-2, 285-pound offensive lineman will play tackle, guard and center and should start garnering scholarship offers after impressing college coaches at a recent BYU summer camp.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Jack Harrell, sr., LB. Clements likes what he has seen from Harrell on tape and in camp and said he is poised to have a breakout senior season.
BIGGEST HOLE • Depth and varsity experience are lacking on this team.
NEED TO KNOW • If key returners like Finau and quarterback Gavin Williams play well, this team could do well even in a year with two major changes.