Note: Westlake finished with a 0-10 overall record in 2017 and was fifth in Region 4 with a 0-4 record. It did not qualify for the 6A playoffs.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Perhaps no other program in the state is up against it like Westlake. Housed in Region 4, the Thunder have played the role of odd-man-out, giving way to powerhouse programs like Bingham, Lone Peak and American Fork which gives way to tough seasons, much like 2017 was.
Still, boosted by the fact they were in most games until the final stages coupled with a decent amount of returning talent, has coaches and players optimistic about the 2018 season.
"I think the mindset of our leaders is different this year because a lot of them have come from a winning program in their youth programs," said Westlake offensive coordinator Mark Ercanbrack. "Overall conditioning has been a focus and the guys have really responded well to getting into better shape this offseason."
Going against Region 4 competition is a huge challenge, but the Thunder embrace that challenge.
"They love it. We love going against the best in the state, pretty much every week," Ercanbrack said. "They want to play the best, and even though wins are tough to come by, these kids are looking forward to the challenge."
Westlake Thunder at a glance
Coach: Louis Wong coached Timpview to four straight state championships from 2006-09. He compiled a 77-10 overall record with the Thunderbirds. He graduated from Castle High in Hawaii and played offensive line for BYU. He went 4-16 his first two years coaching at Westlake.
Westlake Offensive Snapshot
Offensive coordinator: Mark Ercanbrack
2017 offensive production: 18.8 ppg (17th in 6A)
- 6 returning starters
Key offensive returning starter:
- Kaden Johnson (QB)
"Kaden is really a great dual-threat quarterback who didn't see a lot of playing time last year, but enough that we're real confident in what he can do for us this season. He's a smart kid and a real good decision-maker," Ercanbrack said.
Returning offensive starters
- Kaden Johnson (QB)
- Hayden Furey (TE)
- Blain Ballard (WR)
- Ben Morales (WR)
- Brant Benham (OL)
- Cyrus McPherson (OL)
Ercanbrack on his receivers:
"Hayden Furey will play both ways and he'll provide a big impact, along with Blain Ballard, who was kind of our star on special teams and at receiver last year. Ben Morales is a real good player for us as well, along with some others."
Ercanbrack on his offensive line:
"We're not as big this year as last year, but I think we're in better shape. It's a smart group and we're rotating about eight guys and we like how things are developing there."
Westlake Defensive Snapshot
Defensive coordinator: Louis Wong
2017 defensive production: 43.1 ppg (23rd in 6A)
- 4 returning starters
- multiple fronts
Key returning starter on defense:
- Bronson Goodwin (LB)
"The strength of our defense is our linebackers and Bronson is probably our best player there. He'll be in the middle and we'll ask him to do a lot of things. He's put in a lot of good work in the offseason," said Westlake assistant coach Dalton Dunn.
Returning defensive starters
- Bronson Goodwin (LB)
- Britton Thompson (DL)
- McKay Memmott (DB)
- Izaak Greenwood (LB)
Dunn on the defense in general:
"It's coach Wong's defense and it's a lot of fun to play in and to coach. We use nine different fronts in any game, in hopes of throwing the offense off and he's one of the best around at coaching it. We have some inexperience on the defensive front, but overall I think kids are getting it and we're optimistic for the season."
Coaches preseason Region 4 straw poll: Fifth
Deseret News Region 7 prediction: Fifth
Key Region Game: at Pleasant Grove (Sept. 28)
Bottom line: Making the playoffs will be an incredible task for Westlake, not so much because it won't see improvements, but due to everyone else in Region 4 looking that much better than last season. The Thunder will win a game, and prove better than last season, but short of another Region 4 team falling off the map, making the playoffs isn't likely in the cards.
- Aug. 17 — at West Jordan, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 24 — PROVO, 7 p.m.
- Aug. 31 — CORNER CANYON, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 7 — at Skyline, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 14 — AMERICAN FORK, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 21 — at Bingham, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 28 — at Pleasant Grove, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 5 — LONE PEAK, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 12 — CYPRUS, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 17 — TAYLORSVILLE, 7 p.m.
Felts Facts for Westlake
All-time record: 35-54 (9 years)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 3
Current playoff appearance streak: 0
All-time playoff record: 1-3
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Most played rivalry: 5 meetings with Timpview dating back to 2009. Timpview leads 5-0.
Last 5Comment on this story
- 2017 — 0-10 (0-4 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
- 2016 — 4-6 (1-5 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
- 2015 — 5-5 (2-4 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
- 2014 — 3-6 (1-5 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
- 2013 — 3-6 (0-6 in Region 4 – Missed playoffs)
Westlake coaching history
- 2016-current — Louis Wong (4-16)
- 2013-2015 — Steve Clements (11-17)
- 2012 — Gary Clark (4-6)
- 2009-2011 — Jason Walker (16-15)
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
- 2011 — Moana Ofahengaue, DL
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.