Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy
West End secured a playoff berth for the second consecutive season with a 34-20 victory over Class 2A Region 6 rival Cleveland on Oct. 20 in Walnut Grove.
The Patriots (5-3, 3-2) last made the postseason in consecutive years in 2007-08. The win also ended an 11-game losing streak against the Panthers.
Three West End players finished with over 100 yards rushing. Kane Lawson rushed 13 times for 111 yards and a touchdown, Triston Chaney gained 107 yards and a TD on only four carries and Rock Sainsbury finished with 106 yards on 17 attempts.
Lawson got the ball rolling for the Patriots at 8:24 of the first quarter with a 14-yard TD run. Jace Golden knocked through the first of his four PATs to make it 7-0.
Cleveland cut it to one point 13 seconds later when Erick Cervantes took the kickoff 85 yards to the house. But the Patriots took the lead for good a few minutes later by way of Marty Wooten’s one-yard touchdown run.
West End stretched its advantage to 27-6 courtesy of a pair touchdown runs by Triston Chaney – one from 52 yards out and another from 60 yards away.
The Panthers cut the deficit to 13 points at halftime when No. 17 and No. 6 connected for a 29-yard touchdown.
Cleveland drew within seven points late in the third quarter on Ryelee Kennedy’s TD pass to Cervantes, but Sainsbury reeled off a 39-yard touchdown run with 1:21 left in regulation to secure the win.
Wooten was 4 for 7 in passing for 47 yards and rushed six times for 37 yards. Chaney had three receptions for 43 yards. Wooten and Sainsbury both had an interception.
The Patriots host Locust Fork on Friday, Oct. 27 to conclude region play.