Countdown to kickoff: Fort Worth Western Hills Cougars

Posted Monday, Aug. 25, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Fort Worth Western Hills

District 7-5A

Last season: 0-10 (0-7 District 7-4A)

Key players: QB A.J. Daniels (6-3, 200); RB Kamion Bell (5-8, 150); OL Kyle Caballero (6-2, 280); DB Rod Morris (6-2, 180); LB K.J. Robinson (6-1, 225); OL Jake Leatherman (6-2, 225); LB Jeremiah Smith (5-11, 225); RB Willie Desdunes (5-2, 160); DL Michael Winterrowd (5-10, 170); WR Deidrick Cooper (5-8, 168); OL Patrick Abair, (6-2, 275).

The big picture: The Cougars are a year older and ready to shed the difficulties of a winless 2013. Last season, Western Hills made national headlines for a bullying complaint following a 91-0 loss to eventual state champion Aledo. This season, the Cougars have a new coach, and last year’s young team has a year of varsity experience and a newfound hunger to compete. Coach Blake Moilan welcomed 55 kids to camp and introduced a new philosophy that he said will play to the strengths of the personnel available. Quarterback A.J. Daniels returns after throwing for 956 yards and six touchdowns last season. He completed just 44 percent of his passes, but Moilan said that should increase. Last year’s slot-T offense has been revamped to a multi-formation, but will still focus primarily on the run. Running back Willie Desdunes returns after 35 carries for 112 yards last season. Western Hills has a chance to be much better on defense with 10 starters returning and more depth. Add the transfer of Paris linebacker K.J. Robinson, and the Cougars are much faster on the outside with a serious pass-rush threat. Moilan said for now, it’s time for his team to focus on getting that first win, but offered that a playoff spot is not out of reach.

Quotable: “We’re looking good and we improved a lot over the spring. I think our new offense is more versatile and defenses can’t really focus on just one player, they’ve got to account for everyone now. I’m all for whatever helps our team, as coach says, ‘Only throw one pass in the game, but we win the game,’ I’d do that in a heartbeat. Coaches have been prepping us to be more disciplined, and I think if we stick to that we can win some ball games. With what happened last year, every game on our schedule is circled.” — quarterback A.J. Daniels

“I heard someone say this and it’s true: The biggest difference in kids today when you come into a situation like this is that they will still run through a brick wall for you, but they want to know why. I’m OK with that. The bad taste in our mouth from last season is all gone, and we’re looking ahead to greater things.” — coach Blake Moilan

“Hopefully I can bring some speed to the position and help get more pressure on the quarterback. Up in Paris, where I’m from, we have a lot of passion for the game, and my teammates have that as well here. I’m just hoping to keep bringing that spirit and more fire to the program.” — linebacker K.J. Robinson

Notable: The Cougars had nine sophomores and a freshman starting on defense in 2013.

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