West Seattle football coach Davis Lura prefers to look forward.
He doesn’t see the point in looking back.
“This is what I tell the kids,” Lura said. “‘The game is about life. It helps you with adversity. Now, we are dealing with adversity. We just have to face it, get through it, and better things are down the road.'”
West Seattle’s program has been hit hard this season by injuries and academically ineligible players.
The situation reached a critical point last Friday night when West Seattle opted to stop its game against O’Dea at halftime after additional injuries left the Wildcats with 11 healthy players, not counting freshmen.
With his team trailing 48-0, and six players already knocked out of the game with injuries, Lura made the call after consulting with school officials and referees.
“No coach wants to make that decision,” Lura said. “Safety is the No. 1 decision in high school sports for me.”
O’Dea coach Monte Kohler said it was the first time in his 26 seasons with the Irish that he had been a part of a game that was stopped at halftime.
“I think it was between them and the referees,” Kohler said. “We have no control over that situation.”
Lura’s Wildcats have experienced a sharp turnabout after finishing in a tie for first place with a 5-1 record (6-4 overall) in the Metro League’s Sound Division last season, and was 6-0 (and 9-2 overall) in 2008.
He said his 2010 program started with 36 varsity players, including six seniors, in August but dwindled quickly with a rash of injuries and eligibility issues.
He said once some players heal and others get their grades in order, West Seattle’s numbers should rise closer to 40 again. He is expecting between 20-to-22 players to suit up against Franklin this week.
Of those players, only one started last season.
Lura said the players, who’ve had to play on both sides of the ball, often without rest, have handled the situation admirably.
“The kids were ready for something like this,” Lura said. “They know the score. We told them, ‘Hey guys, if it comes down to it, I’m going to protect you guys.’ That doesn’t mean it didn’t upset the kids because they’re competitors. We talked and said, ‘This is a situation we can’t control. It’s nobody’s fault.'”
Lura said his players are continuing to look ahead, not behind.
“They know what’s up,” Lura said. “They know once we’re full force, we’ve got a good football team.”