Basketball standout Zach West returns to football, practices for Oswego

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Zach West watched one game from the bleachers before deciding he’d rather be on the be on the football field for his senior season.

Inspired by Oswego’s thrilling down-to-the-wire 40-38 win at Batavia in Saturday’s season opener, West returned to the team and took part in practice Monday coach Brian Cooney said.

“It was kind of in the works over the weekend,” Cooney said of his talks with West and his dad, Lonnie. “He came to practice on Monday and has to participate in 12 (practices) before he can play in a game (per IHSA rules). He will be available for Week 4, (at) Minooka, just like last year.”

West missed the first three games in 2013, too, with a leg injury. He quickly emerged as quarterback Steven Frank’s favorite target and finished the season with team highs of 40 receptions for 723 yards for the Southwest Prairie Conference champs.

“It’s a plus, really, having an all-conference player return,” Cooney said.

The 6-4 West is the younger brother of former Oswego All-State quarterback Ryan West, a redshirt sophomore now playing for Southern Illinois University.

Zach West is a two-sport standout who averaged 19.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists on the basketball court. He has a basketball scholarship offer from NCAA Division II Lewis University, but is also drawing recruiting interest from several D-I programs, and had decided he wouldn’t play football this fall.

“A fear of getting injured (in football) was not part of the equation in him making that decision,” Cooney said. “He thought he wanted to focus this fall on developing his basketball skills as much as he could and showcasing them.

“He’s pretty unique. Obviously, he’s gifted on the football field but he is in basketball, too, and basketball is his first passion. I told him I understood and it was ultimately his decision. I think Zach had a lot of kids pushing on him (to come out for football).”

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