The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

October 4, 2013

West blitzes Century, but DEFENSE ROCKS

Offense has big numbers, but stout defense is big key to victories

Mankato West is a threat to score on every possession, and most of the time, the Scarlets do find the end zone, averaging 49.7 points and scoring 55 or more points in four of six games this season.

But the defense is doing its part, too, as opponents have managed only 71 points, most of which have come against the reserves.

“We have a flashy offense so maybe we get overlooked sometime,” senior linebacker Isaac Weber said. “We just go with the flow. It’s not a big deal.”

The Scarlets defeated Rochester Century 49-8 in the annual homecoming game at Todnem Field. The Big Nine Conference game was called with about 7 minutes remaining because of lightning, though the clock was already in running time.

West led 42-6 at halftime, despite having only 24 offensive plays. With limited chances, the Scarlets amassed 320 yards and scored six times.

But with those fireworks, it would have been easy to overlook the defense, which held the Panthers to 107 yards, with 67 yards coming on one touchdown pass.

“We have a lot of guys with experience, and it all starts up front with our (defensive) line,” Weber said. “They do a great job and fill up the gaps so we can make the tackles.”

With poor weather forecasted, the Scarlets tried to score quickly, just in case the game was shortened.

On the first possession, the fifth play was a 9-yard pass from Ryan Schlichte to Connor Watts, and Andrew Opsal kicked the first of seven PATs to make it 7-0 after four minutes.

The next drive lasted just two plays as Cory Johnson broke through the middle and outran the Century secondary for a 64-yard touchdown run.

The lead grew to 21-0 when Travon Jones rushed 9 yards, capping a four-play drive that was set up by a fumble recovery at the 20.

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