By Brad Morris
Call it a preview of what was to come.
Bryce Wickline tossed a touchdown on the first offensive play of a Scioto Valley Conference game and went on to throw three first quarter touchdowns that allowed Westfall to get rolling on its way to a 30-14 win over host Southeastern.
The Westfall junior quarterback finished the first half with 223 yards passing and accounted for 280 yards through the air when the final whistle sounded on 11 of 16 passing. Wickline also added 48 yards rushing.
“We felt like we’d be able to throw the football pretty well coming into the game and Bryce just came out and was really slinging the football around and making good throws,” Westfall coach Logan Stepp observed. “That’s the type of spark we needed coming out in a road game.”
Wickline connected with Jaden Towler for a 54-yard touchdown that put the Mustangs on the scoreboard just 14 seconds into the contest.
Southeastern then drove down to the Westfall 38, but the Mustangs were able to force a turnover on downs to get the ball back into the hands of Wickline.
Westfall (2-3, 1-1) took a little longer to score on its second possession of the game, using six plays to cover 62 yards and take one minute and 57 seconds off the clock.
Wickline converted a fourth-and-three with a five-yard pass to Trent Walters and then hooked up with Cade Hall three plays later on a six-yard touchdown strike. Wickline ran in the two-point conversion to put the Mustangs ahead 14-0.
Wickline expanded the lead to 22-0 on Westfall’s next possession with a 68-yard touchdown pass to Casey Cline that was followed by another two-yard conversion run by Wickline.
Southeastern (1-4, 0-2) didn’t go away, however. The Panthers used a 15-yard touchdown run by Grant McCarty in the second quarter and a 10-yard touchdown pass from McCarty to Travis Chenault in the third, followed by a McCarty two-point conversion run, to trim Westfall’s lead to 22-14.
The Panthers were on the move again in the fourth quarter attempting to tie the game. Facing a fourth-and-goal from the five, Towler dropped McCarty at the three-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
“We go from up 22-0 in the first quarter to Southeastern driving to potentially tie the game in the fourth quarter,” Stepp said. “Our guys didn’t panic, they kept playing and Jaden led our entire defense to the ball there and our defense came up with a huge stop.”
Westfall responded four plays later with an 84-yard touchdown scamper by Hall, followed by a two-point conversion run courtesy of Wickline, to put the game away.
“We got a big stop on defense and then Cade has a huge run to really get momentum going our way,” Stepp said. “That was basically the game right there.”
Cline had a banner game with three interceptions and two receptions on offense for 98 yards and a touchdown.
“Casey is an elite level athlete,” Stepp praised. “He made an unbelievable catch that led to one of our touchdowns, where he high-pointed the football and made a great catch over a defensive back that honestly was well-positioned.
“Then Casey goes out on defense and makes some big plays there, as well.”
Walters had three receptions for 86 yards and Towler made four grabs for 85 yards and a score. Hall rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown and had 11 yards receiving with another score.
Southeastern amassed 265 yards rushing and 303 yards of total offense, but Stepp was pleased the defense stepped up in big moments to limit the Panthers to just two touchdowns.
“We’ve been working on our run defense and, honestly, it still remains a concern and something that we have to continue and work on,” he said. “We gave up a lot of yards between the 20s, but once the field shortened inside the red zone our guys rose to the occasion and got the job done.”
The Mustangs snapped a three-game skid and return home next week to face unbeaten Zane Trace (5-0, 2-0), which flattened Huntington 49-6 last night. Southeastern travels to Huntington (2-3, 0-2) next week.
“One of our core values is handling adversity. We dedicate a whole day to it, and we have an assistant coach talk about it every pregame and postgame,” Stepp said. “We try to put our guys in position to handle adversity and to their credit that’s what they’ve done.
“They’ve continued to battle and work hard to get better, and I’m proud of them for that.”
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Westfall 22 0 0 8 30
Southeastern 0 6 8 0 14
WF — Jaden Towler 54 pass from Bryce Wickline (kick failed), 11:46.
WF — Cade Ball 6 pass from Bryce Wickline (Bryce Wickline run), 5:01.
WF — Casey Cline 68 pass from Bryce Wickline (Bryce Wickline run), 0:46.
SE — Grant McCarty 15 run (run failed), 9:30.
SE — Travis Chenault 10 pass from Grant McCarty (Grant McCarty run), 4:57.
WF — Cade Hall 84 run (Bryce Wickline run), 4:44.
First downs 13 21
Rushing yards 24-120 54-265
Passing yards 144 42
Comp.-Att.-Int 9-15-1 3-8-1
Total yards 400 303
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-85 9-60
Punts-Ave. 1-39 0-0
RUSHING – Westfall — Cade Hall 8-90, Bryce Wickline 13-48, Joey Wright 3-(-18). Southeastern — N/A.
PASSING – Westfall — Bryce Wickline 11-16-0-280. Southeastern — Grant McCarty 6-14-3-38.
RECEIVING – Westfall — Casey Cline 2-98, Trent Walters 3-86, Jaden Towler 4-85, Cade Hall 2-11. Southeastern — Travis Chenault 6-38.
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