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New-look Walled Lake Western hoping to amend 2016 title loss

07/26/2017, 9:15am EDT
By By Scott Burnstein, The Oakland Press

After playing quarterback for Southfield A&T last season, Sam Johnson will now be under center for Walled Lake Western in the 2017 season.

After playing quarterback for Southfield A&T last season, Sam Johnson will now be under center for Walled Lake Western in the 2017 season. The Oakland Press

DETROIT >> Walled Lake Western’s football team has some unfinished business to attend to this fall. The Warriors are looking to make amends for a disappointing 18-0 shutout-loss to Detroit King in the 2016 Division 2 state championship game last November.

There’s no question they have the weapons to do it.

Although they lost some key pieces to last season’s puzzle, the Warriors have also added a few new intriguing toys to play with and will certainly be in the hunt for a sixth straight league crown and a repeat trip to Ford Field come November. Western gets the 2017 campaign going on August 24 at 4:00 p.m. down at Wayne State against a stacked West Bloomfield squad in the annual Prep Kickoff Classic.

Longtime Warriors head coach Mike Zdebski and his team captains attended the PKC media day last week at the Fowling Warehouse on the near northwest side of Detroit.

“We’re still in the process of figuring out who we’re going to be as a team, what’s our identity on the field going to look like,” said Zdebski on the state of his program. “Five players with all-state honors are gone. There’s some nice new blood in the mix though, so we’re just seeing how everything fits together now and we’ll go from there.”

Heavily-recruited college juniors Sam Johnson and Spencer Brown join the Western attack this year. Johnson, one of the top quarterbacks in the state’s Class of 2019, started under center at Southfield A&T last fall and Browns was at Walled Lake Northern. Brown is one of the most highly-coveted recruits on the offensive line for the incoming junior class and his younger sibling C.J. Brown, a sophomore, is expected to line up in the Warriors’ backfield and run the ball behind a formidable protection brigade led by his big bro, Joey George, Zack Fodal, Ryan Dickinson and Jake Dean.

“Our line play will be a strength, we’ve got a strong presence up front,” Zdebski said.

Johnson will benefit from the talent in the trenches too. His primary targets in the passing game will be senior Justin Thomas and sophomore Abdur Rahmaan-Yaseen.

Defensively, Zak Kempster, Jonathan Moffett and Dylan McGorisk will head the unit. Kemspter and Moffett are linebackers, while McGorisk is set to pace the secondary from his free safety spot.

Western has only lost one game in the regular season since 2014 and that was via forfeit last year. The personnel may be a little different this fall, however the expectations will remain the same, especially competing in the newly-formed Lakes Valley Conference and wanting to make an early statement in its new home.

“We’re in a new league, we’ve got some new faces to go with some old faces and we’ll be ready to roll when we kickoff versus one of the best teams in the state in West Bloomfield next month,” Zdebski said. “This group is extremely coachable and eager to learn and improve. That’s all you can ask for.”

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Tag(s): News  Walled Lake Western  WLW JV  WLW Freshmen