The Kenmore West Blue Devils came off to a slow start in 2014 but came back and were in it until the very end. The Blue Devils won the Class AA North Division Title, made it to the semifinals and finished with a record of 5-4.
The Blue Devils had a strong campaign with a junior lead squad in 2014. After losing the first two games of the season against Williamsville South and Orchard Park, Ken-West ran their league schedule and won the Class AA North Title. Kenmore West won their quarter-final game against Lancaster, and stayed with Orchard Park in the semi-finals until the very end. West has been to 7 semifinal games the past in 10 years but has not been able to get over the hump. “It’s been a tough pill to swallow” says Head Coach Rich Harris. But Coach believes that will make his team hungrier in 2015, “to build off of it we have a lot of seniors coming back, those guys walked off the field with a very bitter feeling…they’ve work hard all year to redeem themselves”.
In 2015, Kenmore West returns 8 starters on both sides of the ball lead by Utility man, 4-year Varsity Starter, and sought after Division I recruit Terrell Ford. As a junior, Ford had almost 2,000 all-purpose yards for the Blue Devils which earned him numerous awards and recognitions including being a Connolly Cup Finalist. But Ford isn’t the only one who can make plays for Ken-West. Blue Devil Quarterback DeAngelo Walker-Johnson had to have minor knee surgery last August and did not play until week 3 of the 2014 season, but he still managed to throw for 567 yards and run for 358 yards. Jamir Lynch stepped in as a sophomore for Walker-Johnson at the QB spot to begin the season. Lynch had 414 yards in the air and 166 on the ground, he takes over at Wide Receiver for his junior year, “Great receiver…very fast, runs great patterns, has very good hands”, Harris says. Ken-West’s second 4-year Varsity Starter is the hard-hitting 200+ pound Jayson Taylor who plays fullback and linebacker. Taylor had 61 tackles in 2014. Taylor is just apart of the 4-man strong Linebacker core that returns. The core is led by Charlie Milks who had 90 tackles last year and now holds the School single-season sack record. Senior Mark Taylor will be a key contributor at Wide Receiver and Defensive Back this year for West. The Blue Devils have the trenches covered as well with 4 of last year’s starting offensive lineman and 3 of last year’s starting defensive lineman returning.
Kenmore West was heavily favored to beat rival Kenmore East last season, but the Bulldogs upset the Blue Devils and shocked WNY. “We had come off two big victories…one to Williamsville North for the (Division) title, a team that had gone to the state finals, and then we came back home and throttled Niagara Wheatfield, I think both of those things allowed for a huge let down” said Harris about his team heading into that game. However, he believes it wasn’t the Blue Devils who lost the game but East who won it, “I give Kenmore East a lot of credit, they played hard in that football game, that team showed a lot of guts, a lot of heart in that football game”. Harris believes that the tough loss not only helped the Blue Devils in 2014 but the lessons learned from that game will be carried over to 2015, “The good thing that’s gonna come out of that game for us is that this team knows now that on any given day they can be knocked off”.
Coach Harris believes that 2015 can be the year that Kenmore West finally gets over the hump of the semifinal game. “At a minimum win the AA North that’s goal number 1, goal number 2 is to finally get over that hurdle win that semi-final and get on the floor of Ralph Wilson Stadium” says Coach Harris. The Head Coach says this team will go down in history, “31 years I’ve been here this is definitely some of the most talent I’ve had at skilled positions.”
Kenmore West, just as they finished the 2014 season, will begin the 2015 season with the Quakers. “The guys are very excited to redeem themselves”, Coach Harris says about starting off with Orchard Park. Coach Harris believes that it’s exactly what his players need, “(Orchard Park) couldn’t have been a more fitting team for them”. In week 3 Sweet Home comes to Crosby Field for what is likely to be a fun shootout with great athletes on both sides. “It gives us a real opportunity to make a name for ourselves in WNY” according to Coach Harris.
The Kenmore West Varsity Football Blue Devils will go just a few blocks over to St. Joe’s to scrimmage the Marauders at 9 AM for Scrimmage Saturday this weekend. The season kicks off on September 4th at 7 PM for the Blue Devils as they will head to down to Orchard Park to face the Quakers.