NEWMAN - The Westside Niners are up and running once again this year and working efficiently as summer drills are under way.
Head coaches and assistant coaches at all levels of the program are enthused and ready for the Aug. 17 season opener.
President of the Niners and coach Jason Ebert was one of many people preparing the young players in the week-long conditioning drills last week. Players started practicing in pads Monday.
“I am very happy with the numbers we have this year,” Ebert told Mattos Newspapers “We have over 100 kids out there between all the teams.”
Ebert noted that four new teams are entering the league, which will allow the Niners to have new competition during their season.
The goals Ebert and his staff have this year include instilling proper fundamentals and preparing players to advance through the levels ahead.
“ All I want to see for these kids is for them grow within the game,” Ebert said. “We are working on fundamentals, getting them prepared for games, having offensive and defensive lines work on their three-point stances and then for skilled positions working on footwork, speed and agility.”
Along with all the conditioning and fundamentals coaches and staff emphasize player safety and concussion prevention. Upgraded equipment, proper tackling form and staying within designated time limits for contact drills are all important elements of achieving that goal, Ebert told Mattos Newspapers.
The Niners have announced that they will dedicate their season in memory of Cpl. Ronil Singh. They will have a banner on display, and observe a moment of silence at halftime of each game. Along with that, each player will be wearing a sticker decal on the back of their helmets in honor of the fallen officer.
2019 Westside Niners Schedule
(Home games at Orestimba HS / Game times 1,3,5 and 7 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 17: Hughson Oilers
Saturday, Aug. 24: Hilmar Packers
Saturday, Aug. 31: At Mariposa Bears
Saturday, Sept. 7: Big Valley Sabres
Saturday, Sept. 14: At Tri-City Bulldogs (Le Grand)
Saturday, Sept. 21: Denair Lions
Saturday. Sept. 28: At Merced Blue Devils
Saturday, Oct. 5: Central Valley Outlaws
Saturday. Oct. 12: At Gustine Youth Redskins
Saturday. Oct. 19: At Salida Steelers-Jags (Gregori HS)