WESTLAKE — Twice the Westlake Rams got within a touchdown in the second half, but mistakes caught up with them as Tioga won 35-21 Friday night at Max Caldarera Memorial Stadium.
“The kids played hard and they didn’t give in,” Westlake head coach John Richardson said. “We just kept giving up some big plays on the defensive side against a good offensive team.
“Offensively, we kept killing ourselves with penalties. We have a ton of inexperience on our side, and we just have to get better.”
Westlake finished with 11 penalties for 86 yards and fumbled the ball away late in the fourth quarter. Two of those penalties extended a drive that allowed Tioga to take a twotouchdown lead with 5:52 left in the game.
“We did some good things, but we just made a whole lot of mistakes and we have to fix those so we can win games like that,” Richardson said. “They are learning on the fly and we are going to get better.”
Westlake forced Tioga to turn over the ball on downs on its first possession of the second half and then got two big runs to get to the Indians’ 3-yard line. Jasia Simien broke two tackles for a 27-yard gain and J.J. Ross ran up the middle of the Indians defense and then to the right sideline for a 32-yard gain. Ross capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge over the goal line to cut the deficit to 21-14 with 7:04 left in the third quarter.
Ross finished with a gamehigh 161 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries while Simien added 89 yards and a scored on 17 touches. Westlake finished with 283 yards of total offense.
“We did a good job at times of running the football when we didn’t get ourselves behind the chains with penalties and busted assignments,” Richardson said. “When we were actually executing our offense; they had a hard time stopping us.”
Westlake used a 6 1/2-minute drive to pull within 28-21 with 7:12 left in the game on an 11-yard run by Ross despite getting pushed back 10 yards on back-to-back false start penalties.
But Tioga junior quarterback Blake McGehee threw his fourth touchdown pass, and second to Kobe Tilmon, to get back to a two-possession lead. McGehee completed 9 of 16 passes for 166 yards and Tilmon had two catches for 68 yards.
After punting on its first two possessions, Westlake put together a strong, timeconsuming 13-play drive that started late in the first quarter and led to a 7-6 lead with 7:56 left in the second quarter.
Westlake was able to convert on third and fourth downs three times to keep the drive alive. Ross had a 6-yard carry on third-and-1 and Tioga was called offside on fourthand-2 at its own 19. Ross had another key run for 2 yards on fourth down to the Indians’ 4-yard line and Simien plowed through several players for a 4-yard score for the lead.
After the Indians fell behind, running back Shawn Metoyer started the go-ahead drive with a rumbling 20-yard carry and capped it off with a 1-yard run around the left side for a 14-7 lead.
Tioga got the benefit of a bit of luck on its next drive. McGehee’s pass glanced off the hands of receiver Antonio Logan and right into the hands of teammate Kyon Abraham for a 36-yard gain, the Indians’ biggest of the first half. A few plays later, McGehee found Ethan Christman in the back of the end zone for a 1-yard score and took a 21-7 lead into halftime.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
T: Larry Brooks 7 pass from Blake McGehee (run failed)
W: Jasia Simien 4 run (Dawson Wix kick)
T: Shawn Metoyer 1 run (Ethan Christman pass from McGehee)
T: Christman 1 pass from McGhee (Ben Doughty kick)
W: J.J. Ross 1 run (Wix kick)
T: Kobe Tilmon 34 pass from McGehee (Doughty kick)
W: Ross 11 run (Wix kick)
T: Tilmon 34 pass from McGehee (Doughty kick)
RUSHING — Tioga: Shawn Metoyer 9-77, Blake McGehee 5-33, Demetric Payne 5-21, Antonio Logan 6-42. Westlake: J.J. Ross 21-161, Jasia Simien 17-89, Drew Winn 9-8.
PASSING — Tioga: McGehee 9-16-0 — 166. Westlake: Winn 3-10-0 — 27.
RECEIVING — Tioga: Ethan Christman 4-25, Larry Brooks 1-7, Kenneth Ravare 1-30, Kyon Abraham 1-36, Kobe Tilmon 2-68. Westlake: Cullen Hamilton 1-11, Jamaal Guillory 2-16.