Two weeks ago, the West Side Pirates overwhelmed Firth to captured back-to-back state titles for the first time in school history. It’s West Side’s seventh state championship as it also reigned supreme in 1980, 1983, 2004, 2010, 2014 and 2019. Additionally, this is the third time the Pirates have gone undefeated, joining the ’83 and ’14 squads.
Coach Tyson Moser attributes the win to unselfish players.
“We have some very good athletes right now, and some of those kids, if they played somewhere else, would get the ball a lot more than they are right now. Our system is designed to get the ball to a lot more players,” said Moser. His team is just that... a team. “Individuals might not get the touches or catches they might at other schools,” he said, but the plan has worked. “The kids bought into that and trust it. They don’t have egos. They are happy for everyone,” he said.
“So far its been successful, so we decided not to worry about it. When we play other teams, if there’s one or two guys we have to stop (we do). But when you play us, there’s usually five or six you have to focus on because its a lot more balanced — makes it a lot harder to stop us,” he said.
It’s what’s behind their back-to-back state title after smashing Firth school record-breaking 21 consecutive wins.
“Being undefeated has never really been one of my goals. I’d rather loose a game early in the season because it humbles everyone — we might need it by then.
Throughout the year, instead of focusing on their record, the team has focused on the upcoming games, and what needed to happen to be victorious. But now, Moser and his assistant coaches have encouraged the team to “relax and enjoy this one a little bit.
“This state title, for these seniors ... they were not one of those groups growing up that everyone was upset excited about. I don’t think they won the first football game until they were in eighth grade. I really give them a lot of credit for sticking with it, not quitting. I also have to give them a lot of credit, because repeating is really hard to do. They could have been content with what they did last year,” he said.
Another ingredient to the team’s success, said Moser is his assistant coaches.
“I think I’ve got the best assistant coaches around. We’ve got a coaching staff that has been in place for several years which provides the consistency of our program. Having the same coaches year after year makes a difference. It creates a culture that loosing doesn’t cross the minds of the kids.
“You win enough games and your kids start to buy into program and start to believe in what the coaches are telling them and everybody has trust in each other and starts to snowball,” he said. Moser’s assistant coaches are Tyler Brown, Wayne Henderson, Zane Fredrickson, Kasey Fredrickson, Richard Condie, Lyle Henderson (who was the head coach from 1’87-2008), and Craig Buttars (who was head coach in 1983.)
Moser came to West Side in 2009, after eight years acting as an assistant coach for the Pirates. He was recently voted Coach of the Year on the district level. This is West Side’s fourth state title since he took over as head coach. The Pirates, who have only lost two games in a three-season span, are 107-23 with Moser at the helm.
“It’s an honor. I don’t worry too much about it. As long as our kids are performing and enjoying the program and learning I’m not too worried about the other stuff,” he said. “I just enjoy the challenge. Every year brings different challenges, different kids. I enjoy seeing all the pieces come together and seeing kids get rewarded for all the work they put in,” he said.
Moser expressed appreciation to the team’s fans who supported them during the season, and especially at the state game. “I was just super happy with how many of our fans came. Each school as allowed to sale 400 tickets. We sold out and Firth didn’t so we bought out theirs. I think we had about 600 people there. I’m supper happy that that many people came and supported us.”
Despite his advice to his team to relax and just enjoy their repeat state title, Moser said he has already started thinking about next year. When the time comes, he and his team will “forget this one and put as much work into the next one as the last one.”
In the meantime, the team is still reveling in their victory, and enjoying their team connection, said Trevyn Hadley. “There’s a lot of good energy and we still hang out. We all like each other, because we didn’t ‘care who would get the credit. It’s been fun — a lot of fun,” he said.
Taking the state championship twice has been “amazing,” said Hadley, a senior. Like Moser he attribute’s the team’s success to “the team’s attitude — being able to be coached. We changed every week based on the team we were playing. No one cared the position they played. We did our jobs. As long as we trusted each other to do our jobs, we were ok with where we were. It was a lot of fun.”