Westside moved on to the playoffs in a game that will be talked about much longer than it lasted.
The AA No. 16 Renegades beat No. 5 Mingo Central, 45-6, as the Miners kept injured running back Deonte Joplin, Stephen Hammond, and other key players on the bench to avoid further injuring themselves.
It took less than two hours to play the game and less than two quarters for the Renegades (7-3) to build a big lead.
“We had got wind of them keeping out some injured players,” said WHS coach Larry Cook.
Cook started sending in his second and third stringers in the second period.
Westside scored early and often.
Renegade Josh Morgan ran 39 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Five plays later, he scored from four yards out.
WHS had a 6-0 lead with 10:10 on the first quarter clock.
After a quick three-and-out by Central, Westside’s younger Larry Cook returned the punt to the Miners 29.
It took just three plays, the last a Trevor Andrson scoring run of four yards, to get back to the end zone.
Travis Cook booted the extra point to make it 13-0.
Central drove to the Renegades 33 behind the running of Thomas Harman and Matt Heft but the drive stalled there.
Westside marched 67 yards in the last 54.8 seconds of the first quarter to score again.
Cook’s pass to Isaiah Lester and a four-yard pick up on a keeper moved the ball near midfield.
Morgan went 45 yards for a touchdown two plays later.
The Renegades were subbing by the second quarter. Jacob Stafford had touchdown runs of 12 and 66 yards as the lead swelled to 39-0.
“We were classy and gave our younger players a chance to get some experience,” coach Cook commented.
Heft returned a kickoff 67 yards for a TD with 2:38 to go in the half to provide Mingo Central with its only points of the night.
The Miners, Thomas Harmon, led the Miners rushing attack with 65-yards on 12 touches. Heft finished the night with 18-yards on 13 carries.
Westside added one more score in a fast moving second half.
“You prepare kids to play,” Cook remarked. “You can’t take anything away from our kids because we were 6-3 and put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs.”
Morgan ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns on five carries for WHS.
Cook, who was honored as part of the Senior Night group, had 52 yards rushing and was 2-3 passing and threw for a touchdown.
“He’s a special kid,” coach Cook said. “He’s one of the best I’ve had. I’m proud of him and the whole team.
“The kids have worked hard all year,” he added.
The Miners, Thomas Harmon, led the Miners rushing attack with 65-yards on 12 touches. Heft finished the night with 18-yards on 13 carries. Heft also had three kick off returns for 109-yards and one touchdown.
Leonard Young led the Miners on defense with four total tackles. Kaleb Hurley and Aaron Mahon both had two and half tackles apiece.
Game notes: “I’ve never been in a situation like this,” Cook said of the game … Unofficially, it looks like Westside will visit Fairmont Senior next week in the first round of the playoffs and Central would take on Summers County.
(William Plaster is the sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News, he can be reached at 304-235-4242 ext. 2274 or at [email protected] or on twitter @sidplaster)