Matt Myers always thought it would be cool to play for his first high school again, but he never envisioned it happening.
The University at Buffalo quarterback commit played junior varsity at West Seneca West his freshman year before transferring to Bishop Timon-St. Jude. There, he starred for the last two seasons, earning Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association offensive player of the year and first-team All-Western New York honors as a junior.
But when Charlie Comerford resigned as Timon head football coach and athletic director earlier this summer, it was unclear whether there would be a varsity team at the school due to a perceived small freshman class and forecasted transfers (we now know there will be). New Timon coach Joe Licata, a former UB quarterback star himself and Myers' trainer, thinks the future Bull is the best signal-caller in WNY but understood his desire to switch programs.
Myers chose to spend his last season at West Seneca West, while former Timon wide receiver and Myers' top target, junior Juston Johnson, did the same. Now, the dynamic offensive tandem teams up for the Indians, turning a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2005 into perennial contenders for a top-four spot in the Class A South Division.
"We had a lot of chemistry in the past two years," Myers said after practice Monday morning. "My senior year, throwing to him again, a lot of stress off my shoulders. I know he'll make plays when we get the ball, so it's good to have him on the side."
In eight games last year, Myers went 110-of-193 in the air for 1,342 yards, while rushing 96 times for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns. He brings those numbers to WSW, which went 4-5 last season. Indians' head coach Mike Vastola didn't change his expectations for the season after adding the Timon duo - he says he expected to end the playoff drought even without them - but he couldn't ignore the firepower they'll bring to his offense.
"Obviously Matt's a man among boys," Vastola said. "He just looks the part. He's the biggest guy on the field and he's the one to touch the ball every play. Every coach dreams of having that. Juston, his versatility, his speed and ball skills, every coach dies to have that, too. You need both."
Johnson decided to attend West Seneca West after Myers, citing that his decision was ultimately up to him but that Myers obviously played a role in drawing him to a school he's never attended. Johnson's brother, Des Randall, is also entering his first year at the school as head boys basketball coach.
The thought of playing for the Indians, unlike Myers, never even crossed Johnson's mind until the dominoes started to fall earlier this summer.
"It's a little weird at first, but I got used to it," Johnson said. "It happened so fast. I didn't believe it would've happened. There's gonna be a lot of scores, a lot of touchdowns and a lot of wins."
The Indians also added basketball player Alex Wayland, who played football his freshman year but focused on basketball the last two. Vastola expects him to factor significantly at wideout and safety. He, along with others that have been "lingering in the hallways," on top of a new quarterback-receiver combo, are what have produced a buzz around West Seneca West's football team that Vastola hasn't yet seen.
The third-year head coach always thought the 2017 senior class would be the one to push WSW over the top, even without Myers and Johnson. But with the pair now in the fold, the Indians have more reason to believe this is finally the year to break the playoff drought.
"It only helps us," Vastola said of the additions. " ... We love the crew that we have and our goals are probably now that much more attainable."