West signs football letter of intent with Unversity of Central Missouri in Warrensburg
Boonville senior Lane West knew his reasoning behind choosing the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg to play football for the next four years.
After a stellar career at Boonville High School in football, basketball and baseball, West said he chose UCM because he felt like he would fit in and adapt well there.
“They have two majors that I feel I could succeed in and have a good paying job after college,” West said of the second reason.
While also getting looks at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri Western in St. Joseph and Benedictine College along with a few others, West can finally concentrate on playing for the Mules after signing his letter Wednesday in the high school gymnasium.
In addition to earning to earning all-conference and all-district by both the coaches two years running, West also proved without a doubt that each Friday night he was one of the best players on the field.
In 10 games this past season, West finished third on the team in tackles behind Harper Stock and Evan Gonzalez with 63 tackles. However, he ranked first in tackles for losses for the Pirates with 23 along with sacks with 13, fumble recoveries with four and blocked field goals with one (tied DJ Wesolak). He also finished second in caused fumbles only behind Stock with three.
Although defense was West’s mainstay, he also contributed on the offensive side of the ball with six carries for 21 yards and two catches for 9 yards.
Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said West has made huge strides of where he is today.
“Lane always plays with a championship mindset and that’s what you want to have,” Hough said. “UCM recruited Lane because of his motor and his passion of football. Hopefully, those two things will help him progress into a better football player. I have never had to worry about Lane as far as attitude and effort. If he takes that same attitude and effort to UCM I think Lane will be successful.”
West knows it won’t be easy. He said playing at the next level, he will have to improve on his flexibility, overall strength and leadership.
“I will have to do more stretching and do more yoga to help improve my speed and strength in my body,” West said. “Going to the next level you experience the weightroom, it’s an everyday grind. Lastly, I need to improve my overall leadership. It is easy to lead and be vocal to your friends, the guys you know and can get them to do a job. College is going to be different, the guys there do not know you and you have to get their trust and attention to do a job.”
As a four-year starter for the Pirates, West said the highlights of his career as a team have been the trips and off-time they’ve had together such as community service, sandbags and dinners with the team. He said those will always been his favorite memories. Individually, he said the highlights are becoming a better leader and person.
“I have matured greatly from starting my sophomore year to senior year,” West said.
West has already set goals during the next four years at UCM. He said his short-term goals at UCM are to make it through the fall and to make it on the travel bus. He said it will be difficult but he knows he can push himself to be in the best position he can.
As far as long-term goals, West said that is simple. He said he wants to be graduating with his degree and wants to be a starter. At the end of the day, he said his degree is what matters the most to him.
West said he will also remember his best game while playing the game he loves in high school. Although the Pirates didn’t win the game, West said the Blair Oaks game at home as a junior was his best game.
“The stands were full and filled with thousands of fans,” West said. “This game brought the very best of me. I played to my full potential and went 100 percent every play. I had multiple sacks and will never forget that game.”
West said he will also miss most playing at Boonville and playing in front of his hometown. He said having friends and family that you know in the stands is something special, and of course playing under the Friday night lights.
“The feeling is unforgettable,” West said. “The greatest thing I will miss most is playing games next to guys I’ve been through it all with. Walking out and playing each snap to a guy you would die for is a feeling like no other and is what I will miss about playing at Boonville High School.”
With a position change from defensive end to outside linebacker most likely at UCM, West said the coaching staff wants him to come off the edge as a pass rusher.
Of course West knows where it all started. He said the biggest influence on him in football is his family and fans. “I missed the fans so much this year, they drive you to do better and their energy makes you go,” West said. “My family has always been there for me through thick and thin. When I struggled in a game, they always knew how to put a smile back on my face.”