Seminoles wearing chip on their shoulder entering 2017

Westside Head Coach Spoon Risper talks about his team's maturity during the preseason at Wednesday's practice. /(Luke Hetrick, WGXA)

MACON, GA -- Last season wasn't the year Spoon Risper hoped it would be for Westside. After losing a ton of depth and talent off of his 2015 team that made a deep playoff run, Westside's youth and inexperienced showed in a 6-5 campaign in 2016.

The Seminoles finished strong, but the program suffered their first ever loss to a Bibb County opponent in a 8-3 Week 2 defeat against Southwest. The Patriots and Noles meet in the second week of the season this year, but Risper isn't letting his squad look ahead.

"We have something to prove, but we're just taking it one game at a time," Risper said. "We're not looking ahead to week three, week four, the first region game, second region game. We're just trying to work on ourselves one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time."

Three of Westside's first five games come against playoff teams from last season highlighted by matchups at Northside and at home against Peach County. To prepare for a gauntlet of a schedule, Westside scrimmaged 5A Warner Robins last week at McConnell Talbert Stadium.

"It's good to get a scrimmage against Warner Robins, a team of that caliber," Risper said. "Whether it's a scrimmage game or not, you get to compete against somebody else and it's good just to compete against a great team."

Westside will be challenged in the early part of the season, but the head coach likes the maturity and work ethic of his team.

"I like the willingness to learn from this team," Risper said. "They're so humble, they're willing to learn, and they work hard. Any time you have a team that's coachable and works hard, good things could happen that season."

Westside opens the season August 18 at home against Howard.

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