The second time around was much better for Wauwatosa West football coach Matt Good.
The Trojans, who finished 0-8 in the Woodland Conference and 0-9 overall in Good's first season at the helm, bounced back this season to go 3-5 in league play and 4-5 overall, having a chance to make the playoffs late into the schedule.
"It's a credit to our kids, a credit to our coaches," Good said, "that we were able to do some things that nobody expected us to do.
"The biggest thing was our offseason. We got the athletes to buy into our program in the weight-room, for one, and understanding our schemes. That made them play better because they had an understanding of those things."
Tosa West will lose 16 seniors to graduation: Barry Ballinger, Dylan Crafton, Ryan Doolen, Rob Dvorak, Nico Embry, Dustin Fingleton, Kevin Gorman, Mark Harris, Adam Orlando, Carlos Pinto, Levon Poindexter, Dylan Roghan, Ray Sterling Jr., Mark Wesson, Scott Wonless and Bryan Wutt.
"Our seniors, they could have easily packed it in and not played for us this year," Good said. "But those kids worked their tails off from day one."
Another huge surprise for Good was that some kids came out who were not expected to, and they had a major impact on the program. Crafton and Sterling, for example.
Crafton, who played wide receiver and running back, actually played some quarterback when Gorman was lost for the year with a foot injury. Sterling was an outstanding deep threat at wide receiver.
"This year was a stepping stone for these kids," Good said. "Our young kids have to realize how much time and effort goes into this. And next year we can't sneak up on anyone."
Good felt the first road conference win at Cudahy, a 40-32 win on Sept. 11, was a big season highlight.
"Not many people thought we could do it, but our kids did," Good said. "Arguably, it was our best performance of the year. It was great to watch."
As for his seniors, Good had this to say:
"We always challenge the kids to leave the program a better place. Going from zero to four wins, that was a huge accomplishment.
"Now the challenge is there for the underclassmen."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Boys basketball: Tosa East makes most of final opportunity
- Bailey Berlin's free throw sparks win for Wauwatosa East girls basketball
- Wauwatosa East boys stay undefeated, down Falls
- Wrestlers blank co-op trio, 79-0
- Wauwatosa West boys basketball team beats Packers for first win
- Trojan girls basketball team beats Brown Deer, loses to Cudahy
- Wauwatosa wins two events, takes seven seconds, three thirds
- Wauwatosa West girls basketball wins Woodland opener
- Wauwatosa East girls bounce back to beat Eagles, 70-27
- Wauwatosa wrestlers claim Cougar Invitational