GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Catholic quarterback Noah Arsulowicz has handed the ball to many running backs before the 2021 season, including Tim Kloska last year.
There is already a familiarity with the two players. This season, however, Arsulowicz can feel the difference of an offseason when he gives the ball to the Falcons star tailback.
And it’s making his and the team’s jobs a lot easier.
“He just has so much versatility,” Arsulowicz said. “He’s just on a whole other level from where he was at last year. He was a good player, but it’s not even close to where he’s at right now.”
“It’s been unreal to watch,” he said.
The numbers back it up for the junior running back Kloska.
In the opening game of the season against Allendale, he quickly got the attention of everyone around Falcon football. On just 18 carries, Kloska broke the single game school record for rushing yards with 331 yards.
After his lowest rushing total of the season in Week 2 of 134 yards against Muskegon Catholic Central, he didn’t waste any time to break more records in Week 3 against Allendale.
Kloska took only 14 handoffs and turned it into 345 yards (breaking his own school record set Week 1) and six touchdowns, the most of any Falcon in a single game.
Through just six games in which West Catholic has a perfect record, Kloska has totaled 1,547 yards on 120 carries, coming out to a video-game like statistic of 12.9 yards per carry. No to mention 20 touchdowns total, which leads the team.
What sparked this dream season for Kloska was his hunger to get better in the offseason.
“I was working out eight days a week and that really helped me push myself to where I wanted to be,” Kloska said. “I felt like this whole team started to work harder and it made us all bond more, which made me want to get better as well off the field so I could see results on it.”
The results have been more than anyone could have guessed, including head coach Justin Michalowski.
Coming into the season, the coaching staff knew that Kloska’s talent could bloom into something special.
That’s why Michalowski had a conversation with him after his first year on varsity as a sophomore.
“We talked about what it takes to be a leader and he really did that when no one was watching other than his teammates and us,” Michalowski said. “With his diet, work ethic, hitting the weights, he really has done all of that and it’s a kudos to him.”
Of course, Kloska isn’t the only reason the rushing game has been stellar this season.
The offensive line has been a group that has led this group and opened holes left and right for Kloska to exploit defenses with.
One of those five players up front is senior Kyle Kloska, Tim Kloska’s brother.
“My O-line does it every week, it’s been really fun running behind my big brother,” Tim Kloska said. “I can always count on the guys in front of me, it’s my first year I’ve been able to play with a lot of my friends because I’ve been moved up to varsity and junior varsity in the past.
“For me, this season has really just been fun.”
While it’s hard to not enjoy the success that comes with winning, there is still more football to be played for West Catholic.
The Falcons have a storied tradition of winning state championships, winning five straight state titles from 2013-2018. They also won a state title in 2010-11.
Since the end of that 2017-18 season, the Falcons haven’t really come close to winning another state championship, including 2019-20 when they missed the playoffs all together.
Michalowski will be the first to tell you it’s taken a lot of work to get back to looking like a team that could make a run deep in the playoffs.
“Nobody hired me to make the playoffs, they hired me and this team to win state championships,” Michalowski said. “Hopefully we can keep winning but if we do lose we will grow and be ready for Week 10 which is where it really matters.”
If the Falcons were to make that push, it’s clear that Kloska’s running game will be a major factor.
He says while they understand West Catholic’s football tradition is a storied one, it’s about this team right now.
“We haven’t won (a state title) in a while so it’s in the back of our minds but right now it’s the regular season so we are just focused on these nine games,” Kloska said. “Once we get to the playoffs it’ll be week by week, but right now we can’t worry about the past.”
What they are paying attention to is a huge matchup of unbeatens in the OK Blue where the Falcons head on the road to take on Unity Christian.
It’s an offense that is highly explosive for the Crusaders, one that Kloska (who also plays defense) and the team is aware of.
“Their offense likes to put up a lot of points on people,” Kloska said. “I think it’ll be a shootout. We need to be ready for that, they can score in a hurry.”
So can Kloska and the Falcons offense. Ask anyone who has played them.
No one has been able to slow down the legs of the Falcons tailback.