After ending last year”s football season with a losing record, the Westchester High School Comets will focus on getting more victories and improving their position in the Western League this season.

Westchester finished last year with a 4-7 record after earning league victories over University High School and Palisades High School.

Although the Comets made it to the playoffs last year, the team made an early exit after a first-round loss to Dorsey High School. This year, the Comets hope to change that.

ìWe”re determined to do much better this round,î said David Williams, the first-year coach of the Comets.

ìWe plan to contend for the Western League title.î

One change the team has implemented to help make it a contender is an increase in roster, with 60 players suiting up instead of the usual 32, he said. There are many athletes with a lot of potential and talent, and they can help lead the Comets to a winning record this year, he said.

Some key offensive players for Westchester include junior quarterback Duron Sylvester, senior wide receiver Ray Reese, senior running back Joshua Henry and senior wide receiver Baird Steptoe.

The top returners on defense include senior middle linebacker Jacob Vuna, senior outside linebacker Ronnel Faniel and senior strong safety Dominique Hatfield.

If the Comets hope to contend for a league title, they will have to go through some tough teams that are also hoping for the same thing.

ìWe want to advance far in the city,î Williams said. ìIt begins at home and we can”t beat ourselves.î

Westchester”s football team is composed mainly of juniors and needs to find a reliable place-kicker, but the team expects to make a strong showing in the league, he said.

ìWe have to grow as we go,î he said.

The Comets will kick off their season at home against Morningside High School at 7 p.m. Friday, September 10th. Morningside will offer a challenge with its punishing rushing attack, so the Comets will need to stop the running game, he said.

A formidable task in the schedule for Westchester will be getting past league champion Venice High School at home at 7 p.m. Friday, November 5th.

Non-league games that will also be a test are against San Pedro High School and Crenshaw High School, he said.

ìWe want to develop a program and not just be a team that occasionally finds itself on the radar,î he said. ìWe have a lot of optimism about the upcoming season.î