Photo: West End’s Kaleb Arledge catches a pass during the Patriots’ 42-12 loss to Susan Moore in high school football last Thursday (Aug. 23) in Walnut Grove. (Photo by Sherry Abercrombie)
By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mountain Reporter
West End entered last Thursday’s football season opener against Susan Moore riding a three-game winning streak in the rivalry.
The Bulldogs made sure it didn’t reach four.
Susan Moore rushed for 345 yards and passed for 64 in rolling to a 42-12 triumph at Patriots Stadium in Walnut Grove.
Anthony Cervantes powered the Bulldogs’ ground game, running for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Susan Moore quarterback Andrew McEvoy kept it 15 times for 99 yards and one touchdown.
Susan Moore’s defense limited West End to minus 3 yards rushing. Making his first start, Patriot quarterback Jacob Jones completed 14-of-32 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
West End’s Eli Pearce caught five passes for 70 yards and a score, and Kaleb Arledge had three receptions for 97 yards and a TD.
Penalties plagued both teams. The officials flagged the Patriots 12 times for 131 yards, while the Bulldogs committed 12 infractions for 108 yards.
“We’ve got skill players, but up front we’ve got a lot of questions, defensively and offensively, and we’ve got a long way to go,” West End head coach Kyle Davis said. “Obviously, when you’ve got to line up and throw it every down because you can’t run the ball, it’s tough. The bottom line is they wanted it more than us, and they played more physical than we did and they beat us.”
The Bulldogs took the lead for good on their second series of the unseasonably cool summer night, driving 68 yards in eight plays. McEvoy scored on a 2-yard run with 2:53 left in the first quarter. Jesus Aguilar kicked the first of his six extra points, making it 7-0.
Tanner Sisson’s 26-yard punt return gave the Bulldogs excellent field position at their 47-yard line.
Susan Moore covered 53 yards in 11 plays, extending their lead to 14-0. Cervantes carried the pile into the end zone when he scored on a 7-yard run at the 6:33 mark of the second period.
The Patriots, who gained only 59 yards in the first half, capitalized on a special teams mistake to score their initial touchdown of the season.
Susan Moore muffed a punt, and West End’s A.J. Taylor recovered at the Bulldog 13.
Three plays later, Jones zipped a 15-yard touchdown pass to Pearce with 34.4 seconds remaining in the quarter. Gavin Harper blocked the extra point.
The Bulldogs answered, zooming 78 yards in three plays to recapture the momentum.
Cervantes ripped off a 34-yard gain to the West End 31. On the next play, McEvoy lofted a 31-yard touchdown pass to Sisson down the Bulldogs’ sideline with one second left. Aguilar kicked it to 21-6.
Susan Moore sealed its victory with 21 fourth-quarter points.
Sisson hugged the sideline on a 13-yard touchdown run with 9:42 remaining. The run completed an eight-play, 90-yard drive that featured a 39-yard carry by Richo Findley.
On the second play after the kickoff, Jones connected with Arledge for a 74-yard touchdown pass with 8:45 to go, trimming it to 28-12. West End’s two-point conversion failed.
McEvoy returned the kickoff 42 yards to West End’s 48. Three plays later, Cervantes dashed 35 yards to the end zone with 7:35 left.
Susan Moore’s Tyler Vaughn returned an interception 55 yards for a touchdown at the 5:33 mark. Aguilar’s final point-after made it 42-12.
“We played uninspired,” said Davis. “It almost felt like we were kind of going through the motions, and that’s obviously a coaching problem. We didn’t get them prepared the way we needed to get them prepared to play this ballgame.”
West End travels to Pleasant Valley on Aug. 31.