HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) The West Ottawa Panthers made consecutive postseason appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2012. You can be sure they want to continue that trend in 2013.
“We really want to continue building on the fact that we’ve made the playoffs the last three years,” says third-year head coach Rory Zegunis. “We want to be one of those teams in the area here that continually are playoff teams. We want to be thought of as a team like that.”
To do so in 2013, the Panthers will have to replace plenty of talent on the offensive side of the ball, namely at quarterback, where Trevor VanTubbergen was lost to graduation. “We’re going to have three or four starters back offensively,” says Zegunis. “We’ll have a lot of young kids stepping up and filling those roles. Defensively, we’re returning quite a few. We have nine or ten guys who have experience.”
One of the keys to the offense figures to be junior running back James Lacy, who emerged as one of the most dangerous ball carriers in the O-K Red last season. “We’re definitely going to look to James for a lot of our offensive production,” says senior receiver and safety Alex Zimmerman. “With his speed, he’s tough to stop. And we have a lot of quick receivers that we’re going to look to as well.”
The Panthers have a tough opener on the road August 29th against Canton High School, a typical powerhouse in division one. “It’s going to be awesome,” says Zimmerman. “Everyone’s really excited. Real pumped for the first game. We’re going to be ready to go.”
Follow the Panthers and all the West Michigan teams all season long on WZZM’s “13 On Your Sidelines” with Tom Clyde, Dan Harland and Brent Ashcroft Friday nights at 11:15.