Originally created 08/25/06

Season Preview: Westside

Head coach: Gerald Barnes (10th year)

Classification: GHSA Region 3-AA

2005 record: 6-5

Four-year record (since 2002): 24-20

Last playoff appearance: 2005

Returning starters: 6 offense, 7 defense

Key Patriots: Senior WR/FS Alex Walker (6-2, 185); Senior QB/DB Melvin Tanksley (5-10, 190); Senior OL Orlando Sharpe (6-1, 275); Senior OL Lee Browning (6-4, 230); Senior SE/SS Chris Sanders (6-3, 215); Senior SE/LB Robert Fields (6-2, 215).

Offensive attack: When Walker caught passes from Tanskley last season, he did so in a big way, averaging 22 yards per catch. The problem? He hauled in just 16 passes. Walker's a Dream 16 player and could have a huge year. But a lot of that depends on Tanskley, who completed just 42 percent of his passes last season.

Defensive keys: A lot of what Westside does starts with Sanders. Last year, he recorded 85 tackles and nine sacks from his outside linebacker position. He will be key to the 5-2 set, while Walker heads a deep secondary.

Thin at: Defensive line, running back

Big game: At Laney, Oct. 27

Different this year: Lyle Burns begins his first year as offensive coordinator. It'll be his job to improve an offense that averaged just 16.5 points per game last year.

Could go bad if: Defensive line doesn't come together after the first three games. Westside dives into region play in Week 4 at Screven County.

Great year if: Westside can get its passing game on track. And if the team finds a breakout running back, the Patriots can plan their fourth trip to the playoffs in the past five seasons.


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