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Sentinels take steps in right direction

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013 12:30 p.m. CDT
Westmont's Brett Sible elevates to catch a pass during the Sentinels' Oct. 11 game at Lisle. The Sentinels wrapped up their season at Peotone on Friday. (Photo by Erica Benson - ebenson@shawmedia.com)

WESTMONT – Westmont football head coach Otto Zeman called the 2013 season a learning experience for his team.

Zeman – who spent 28 years as Riverside Brookfield head coach and two seasons as Fenton’s offensive coordinator before taking over at Westmont this year – didn’t expect to completely turn around the program overnight, but acknowledged that the 1-8 campaign was a bit disappointing.

“We implemented whole new staff and a new defensive and new offensive scheme,” Zeman said. “That kind of change takes time and I think it was a step in the right direction. This year, it took a while for the whole team to completely buy in.”

The Sentinels’ victory came against Dwight. The team also lost a heartbreaker in the final minute to Reed-Custer on a miscue on a kneel-down play.

The offensive minded Zeman brought an uptempo offense to the Interstate Eight Small. While the pass-first offense didn’t translate into wins, senior quarterback Tim Doll rewrote Westmont record books, setting marks is passing attempts and completions.

“[Tim Doll] had and the offense had an up-and-down year,” Zeman said. “There were flashes of good, but we also turned the ball over too much. But I was happy with the way Tim ended the season; he showed a lot of heart.”

After suffering a concussion during a Week 7 loss to Lisle, Doll started the final game of the season on Friday, throwing for 261 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against Peotone.

Senior wide receiver Danny LoGiurato hauled in both of the Sentinels’ touchdown passes.

Unfortunately for the Sentinels, the big plays were too few and far between, as the offense lacked consistency and was continually plagued by turnovers.

Zeman hopes that as the team matures – seven sophomores assumed starting roles by the end of the season – Westmont will find its footing.

“Moving up to varsity is a big step in terms of game speed and intensity but I thought some of our younger guys handled it very well,” Zeman said.

Sophomore Jake Welch might be in line to take over the starting quarterback role when Doll graduates in the spring. Welch threw a touchdown pass during his lone start against Coal City in Week 8.

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