LENNOX – West Central dominated the first half of play in their 11A matchup with Lennox on Friday night, but when they trudged to the east end zone for the 20-minute break, they had only a seven-point lead. One drive had ended with an interception in the end zone, another in a missed field goal after a series of penalties.
On the one hand, it was frustrating. On the other, their suffocating defense gave them every reason to believe they would put things away in the second half, and that’s exactly what they did.
The Trojans offense broke through after the break, both on the ground and through the air, and they cruised to a 35-7 win.
“We were frustrated,” admitted Trojans running back Jordan Lueth, whose four-yard touchdown run was the only score of the first half. “But we knew we could do it if we just got things cleaned up. We just talked about battling through and doing what we do. Things opened up for us in the second.”
That’s a fact. The Trojans (5-1) pushed their lead to 14-0 on a short scoring run by Jonah Rechtenbaugh early in the third, then took control when Lueth busted through the line and darted 46-yards down the right sideline to make it 21-0.
At that point in the game, Lennox (4-2) barely had any first downs, let alone any real scoring chances, but they refused to let West Central put it on cruise control. Tyler Leisinger hit Nick Kayle on a perfectly thrown loft over the middle that went for a 37-yard score, cutting the lead to 21-7. When Rechtenbaugh returned the ensuing kickoff for an apparent touchdown things really seemed to be picking up, but that special teams score was called back for a penalty.
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All that did was delay the inevitable, however, as the Trojans turned to the air, with Dan Skinner finding Lueth on a 21-yard corner route to make it 28-7. Joseph Hanisch would add a 17-yard touchdown run to round out the scoring.
West Central coach Kent Mueller admitted he and his players allowed themselves to get rattled by some of the first half penalties and mistakes. As he spoke to his team afterward, Mueller complimented the players for keeping their composure and stepping up.
“Fellas,” he told the gathered youngsters, “that second half was a thing of beauty.”
That started with a defense that shut down the Orioles run game, and finished with an offense that simply wore down the hosts.
“We had to make sure we didn’t allow our frustrations to keep us from doing the things we needed to do,” Mueller said. “Our defense was real solid all game, we took away some of their better plays. And offensively we just really wore ‘em down. Early on we were doing some really good things and then we’d ruin it with a penalty or something. On the road those mistakes are really magnified, so we just talked about focusing on every play and doing what we had planned to do coming in here. I was real pleased. That’s a very good team over there, so this is a nice win for us.”
Follow Matt Zimmer on Twitter at @argusmattz
Friday’s high school scores, schedule