INWOOD, IOWA (KCAU) — Like many of us, for the West Lyon Wildcats, 2020 was a year better forgotten.

The Wildcats finished the season 8-2, so by no means was it a bad year, but those two losses came to their biggest rival, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock. West Lyon nearly defeated the rival Lions in the regular season back on October 9, 2020, but couldn’t hold off a fourth quarter rally as they walked away from an unbeaten match up with their first loss of the year 20-16. Then, a month later in the Class 2A state quarterfinals, with a trip to the UNI Dome on the line, the Lions dropped the hammer, going up 34-0 before going on to win 34-13.

Heading into 2021, the Wildcats will need to replace their starting quarterback, running back, and top receiver, among others, but have several players looking to step in to prominent roles. At quarterback senior Jaxon Meyer will look to step into a starting role after playing as a back-up in 2020, going 17/23 for 198 yards, while also serving time as a running back, finishing third on the team with 83 carries for 440 yards and seven touchdowns. Head coach Jay Rozeboom likes the versatility that Meyer brings to the offense, but is still searching for the right fit for both sides of the ball.

On defense senior linebacker Dawson Ripperda returns as the team’s leading tackler after racking up 53 takedowns, seven sacks, and 14 tackles for loss as a junior. Defense is traditionally where the Wildcats hang their hat, as evidenced by last season’s 9.4 points per game allowed, prior to the playoff match up with CL/G-LR. West Lyon has only missed the playoffs once in the last 20 seasons, and that was in 2002. Odds are, the Wildcats will once again be back in the dance this fall.

West Lyon opens its season on August 27 when they host Western Christian.