By Will Johnson
WESTWOOD – Head Coach Richard Bishop takes over a Westwood Panthers program that finished the 2017 season with a 1-9 record.
Bishop comes to Westwood from the DFW metroplex where he coached at Grapevine, Plano East and Mesquite Poteet.
Bishop said he made the move to the Palestine area so he could be closer to his family.
“I wasn’t really looking to move this year, but when I spoke to (WISD Superintendent) Mr. (Wade) Stanford, we really hit it off. We had a good rapport and it seemed like Westwood was the place I needed to be,” Bishop said.
The new head coach said the Panthers would be running an up-tempo, spread offense while they will work out of a 3-4 base defense.
As to what he saw as the strengths of Westwood, Bishop said the team was loaded with playmakers.
“I think we have plenty of guys who we can get the ball to in space. Coach (David) Lynch on defense is doing a phenomenal job with the front seven. He is getting them to play hard and buy into our mentality,” he said.
On the flip side, the Panthers are playing a completely different style of football than they have ever played, Bishop indicated.
He said there were different formations, different verbiage and different terminology which took the players a little while to pick up.
The Panthers return seven starters on offense and six on defense among the 12 returning lettermen and will compete in District 11-3A.
District 11-3ADI is comprised of: the Coldspring-Oakhurst Trojans; the Crockett Bulldogs; the Diboll Lumberjacks; the Elkhart Elks; the Franklin Lions; the Trinity Tigers; and the Westwood Panthers.
“When you look at our schedule from top to bottom, it’s filled with top 10 teams or traditional powerhouses. We’re trying to focus on us and learning to run one play at a time. That will let the results take care of themselves. We are more of a milestone team rather than a goal setting team,” Bishop said.
“Obviously,” he continued, “the end goal is to win a state title. If that’s the only goal, then everyone is a failure, except one team. We try and set milestones and the first milestone is to win that first ballgame of the year.”
Players to watch for this year include: Jaren Turner; Aneas Page; Darius Turner and Cayden Barlow.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.