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Football Preview: Westfield

Verbanic enters year with young team.

Westfield head coach Tom Verbanic is in a bit of strange position this year. The Bulldogs were hit hard by graduation and will now field a team that features only three returning starters on offense.

“This is the youngest team that I’ve had in four years,” said Verbanic. “In the last three years, we have graduated 79 seniors that played. This year, we will probably play with somewhere between 10-12 seniors. It’s a very different kind of year.”

A key loss for Verbanic’s squad is running back Evan Royster, who was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs. Royster, last year’s Northern Region player of the year, finished his career with 750 rushes for 6,384 yards and 90 touchdowns.

“Obviously, you’re not going to get an Evan Royster every year,” said Verbanic. “He is a tremendous running back and a tremendous high school player in the Northern Virginia area.”

Verbanic is currently looking at three juniors to fill the void that Royster left at running back, including Kareem Eubanks and Ross Lavin.

“I think that they will be very good running backs for us,” he said. “We will share the load a little bit this year.” At quarterback, Verbanic will call on junior Mike Glennon, younger brother of former Westfield quarter and Virginia Tech starter Sean Glennon.

“He is doing a good job. He’s throwing the ball well,” said Verbanic of Glennon. “He’s got that god-given 6-foot-6, which is a wonderful thing. He is doing a good job at leading us now.” Glennon believes that the Bulldogs will be just fine with their young squad.

“We are little inexperienced but I don’t see why we can’t be as good as all of the previous teams,” he said. “I think that we will throw the ball very well. We have about six guys in the receiver role that can get the job done.”

So far, Verbanic has been impressed with the team. “Effort-wise, we had a great offseason,” he said. “Overall, we have been very pleased. Our effort is good. We still make a lot of young mistakes and we have to overcome that. Effort-wise, we are in good shape.”