By: Gary Dove
WN Sports Writer
CLEAR FORK – The homestanding Westside Renegades came out on top of an offensive explosion football game 57-32 Tuesday evening over the Wyoming East Warriors to return the prized Golden Shovel to the western side of Wyoming County.
The Shovel is emblematic of football superiority between the two Wyoming County high schools and returns to Westside after three years at Wyoming East, following Warrior victories in 2017, 2018 and last season.
The contest highlighted many stellar performances, but most were overshadowed by the underclass quarterbacks for each team.
Sophomore Jaxon Cogar of Westside rushed 20 times for 114 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 12-of-18 passes for 171 yards and four more scores.
East freshman signal-caller Jackson Danielson also threw four TD passes, while completing 8-of-18 attempts through the air for 247 yards.
Renegade senior Ethan Blackburn found the end zone three times in the victory.
His first six came when he returned the opening kickoff 86 yards before the sparse gathering of fans had settled into their collective socially distanced seats.
Blackburn fielded the kick at his own 14 and ran right up the middle, outracing East defenders after he broke the initial line of Warriors.
Westside head coach Herbie Halsey spoke of the first Blackburn touchdown after the game, “That was nice!” (Former longtime Oceana football coach, the late “Coach (John) Beckelheimer stole that kick return from Independence years and years ago and I’ve stuck with it…You just have to run toward the middle and it parts like the Red Sea. It really got things started and swung the momentum in our direction. It sparked a fire that gave us those first three touchdowns. That was huge!”
Following junior Blake Goode’s conversion run, Westside led 8-0 with only 13 seconds off the first quarter clock.
Blackburn added his second score at the 7:50 mark of the first on an 8 yard pass from Cogar on a slant pattern to extend the advantage to 14-0.
The Renegade lead stood at 21-0 after the inaugural frame when Cogar ran off the right side of his O-line from four yards away and senior Daniel Reed kicked the PAT with 4:05 remaining, making a blowout look like a possibility.
Midway through the second, Wyoming East lit the scoreboard on an 8 yard pass from Danielson to senior Mason Houck, who ran the PAT to cut the deficit to 21-8,
Cogar answered with a one yard run at the 2:06 mark to push the score to 27-8
The Warriors cut back into the Renegade lead when Danielson passed to sophomore Chandler Johnson on the left side of the offense. Johnson hauled in the pigskin and out ran the defenders to complete a 62 yard catch-and-run for a second East TD. Senior Caleb Bower ran the extra points to make the deficit 27-16 with less than a minute until intermission.
An onside kick attempt rolled three of the ten necessary yards before making a U-turn and retreating backward four yards to the East 39..
On the next play, Cogar aired the ball out down the right sideline to Reed, who made a leaping grab and scooted into the end zone with an answering TD only 8 seconds after Johnson’s score. Goode’s PAT run put the Westside advantage at 35-16 at the break.
Just as the Renegades had opened the first half with a lightning play, East did the same on its initial snap of the third when Danielson threw a swing pass to Bower, who made the catch and then cut toward the Warrior sideline before outracing the secondary for a 62 yard catch-and-run only 18 ticks into the second half. Bower then ran the conversion.
Cogar and Company answered with a 13 play, 66 yard march that took almost seven minutes off the clock before senior Spencer Keeney caught a 14 yard TD pass from Cogar to push the envelope to 41-24.
After the defense recorded a stop, Cogar lit the Westside scoreboard again, this time on a 4 yard run before Goode again added the two-point conversion to stretch the lead back to 49-24, albeit for a brief moment.
Danielson was in danger of getting sacked with just over two minutes showing in the third when he flipped a desperation pass in the backfield to senior Chase York, who evaded and shook off would-be tacklers before putting an exclamation mark on the play, concluding a 73 yard catch-and-run with 1:54 on the clock. York ran the extra points to cut the deficit to 49-32 after three quarters.
Defense ruled much of the fourth before a final Westside pass, from Cogar-to-Blackburn from 35 yards out with 46 seconds left in the game, penned the final 57-32 score after Goode again ran the conversion.
Bower paced the Wyoming East defense with 17 total tackles, followed by Johnson’s 13 and 12 by senior Josh Reilley.
Keeney topped the Renegade “D” with six total stops, including one tackle-for-loss and one pass interception.
The Warriors, who are set to host River View a week from Friday, fell to 0-4 with the loss, while Westside improved to 2-1.
The Renegades were supposed to host Independence Monday evening, but a positive test to a member of the Westside school has put that game, as well as the next scheduled one on hold during a quarantine period. With this occurrence, the entire school is closed, with no practice, games or even classes.
AT CLEAR FORK
WYOMING EAST 0 16 16 0 32
WESTSIDE 21 14 14 8 57
WS: Ethan Blackburn 86 yd kickoff return (Blake Goode PAT run) 11:47
WS: Blackburn 8 yd pass from Jaxon Cogar (PAT run failed) 7:50
WS: Cogar 4 yd run (Daniel Reed PAT kick) 4:05
Second Quarter WE: Mason Houck 8 yd pass from Jackson Danielson (Houck PAT run) 6:36
WS: Cogar 1 yd run (PAT kick blocked) 2:06
WE: Chandler Johnson 62 yd pass from Danielson (Caleb Bower PAT run) 0:52
WS: Reed 39 yd pass from Cogar (Goode PAT run)
WE: Bower 62 yd pass from Danielson (Bower PAT run) 11:42
WS: Spencer Keeney 14 yd pass from Cogar (PAT run failed) 4:45
WS: Cogar 4 yd run (Goode PAT pass from Cogar) 2:57
WE: Chase York 73 yd pass from Danielson (York PAT run) 1:54
WS: Blackburn 35 yd pass from Cogar (Goode PAT run) 0:46
FIRST DOWNS WE 7, WS 20
RUSHING YARDAGE WE 9, WS 200
PASSING YARDAGE WE 247, WS 171
TOTAL YARDAGE WE 256, WS 371
PASSING WE 8-18, 4 TD, 1 Int, WS 12-18, 4 TD, 1 Int
PENALTIES WE 15-84 yds, WS 11-72 yds
INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS
RUSHING WE Caleb Bower 11-73 yds, WS Jaxon Cogar 20-114 yds, Blake Goode 17-78 yds
PASSING WE Jackson Danielson 8-18, 247 yds, 4 TD, 1 Int, WS Jaxon Cogar 12-18, 171 yds, 4 TD, 1 Int
PASS RECEIVING WE Chase York 2-105 yds, Chandler Johnson 4-71 yds, Caleb Bower 1-62 yds, WS Daniel Reed 4-82 yds, Ethan Blackburn 3-69 yds