Roberts will carry load for West Salem after MVC leading rusher Holt departs

The West Salem High School Football team is trying to mirror what the program did in 2017, when the school won its first Mississippi Valley Conference crown. Last year was not as kind to the Panthers.

After the team started 6-1, they dropped their final three games, including an early playoff exit in level 1. The team also lost a lot of talent from last year’s group, but they return 14 seniors.

West Salem has to replace the MVC’s leading rusher, Brendan Holt, who tallied more than 1,200 yards on the ground. It’s next man up for the panthers. Senior Therrick Roberts will be the driver in the backfield this season along with an experienced offensive line.

He racked up 323 yards and three touchdowns a season ago. His coach and fellow teammates are ready for a new horizon.

“He did a nice job last year when he did get some touches, and behind an experienced offensive line, we think he can do fairly well,” said Justin Jehn, West Salem head coach. “We certainly have to mix it up back there, but he is a kid who is going to carry the load for us.”

Roberts said the offensive line will make his job a lot easier.

“Our offensive line is huge. They are going to play a big role for us,” Roberts said. “They just create huge holes. Even at the beginning of the season with our walkthroughs, you can tell they have gotten better.”

Senior offensive lineman and defensive lineman Dylan Noel said there is no reason Roberts can’t replicate what Holt did a season ago.

“I can see a lot of the same things in Therrick when he had to come in the game,” Noel said. “I am pretty excited to see him live up to it.”

Senior offensive lineman and defensive lineman Trevor Trautsch said he has noticed Roberts putting in more work in the offseason.

“I know Therrick has been doing a lot to better himself and get ready for the season because he knows he is going to have to step up,” Trautsch said.

West Salem will welcome Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau a week from Friday. The Panthers beat the Red Hawks 14-6 a season ago.

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