High School Football

Westside too much for Lexington to handle

Lexington's head coach Josh Stepp and quarterback Donny Baker
Lexington's head coach Josh Stepp and quarterback Donny Baker tdominick@thestate.com

Westside used a stingy defense, the running of Quinn Wright and the short passing of quarterback Jackson Williamson to defeat Lexington 27-10 Friday night at River Bluff.

Wright ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns, while Williamson threw for 215 yards as the Rams rolled to 376 yards of total offense. Westside also had four interceptions, one which was returned 24 yards for a touchdown by Dre Gaines.

Wright ran for two scores in the first half to stake Westside to a 14-3 lead. After Gaines had the interception return for the score, Chance Poore kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter.

After recording a shutout last week, Westside didn’t allow Lexington into the end zone until less than a minute remained when backup quarterback Chase Crouch threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jayson Hopper.

The Rams negated the rushing attack of Slade Carroll. The senior rushed for over 1,600 yards last season, but was bottled up to 26 yards on 12 attempts. Lexington finished with 20 yards on the ground.

Former Lexington coach Scott Earley defeated his former team for the second year in a row.

TURNING POINT

Lexington trailed 14-3 at the half and was pinned back to start a drive at its own 25 when Gaines drifted over from his linebacker spot and snagged the Rams’ third interception of the game. He avoided two tacklers and cruised into the end zone with 2:47 remaining in the third.

KEY PERFORMERS

Quinn Wright: The senior running back was a workhorse for the Rams. He tallied 158 yards on 29 carries and had scoring runs of 3 and 7 yards. He also added six catches for 51 yards.

Jackson Williamson: The son of former South Carolina quarterback finished 21-of-27 for 215 yards. He rarely threw it deep, but kept the chains moving to allow the Rams to nearly double Lexington in time of possession.

Donny Baker: Lexington’s senior quarterback was under pressure and lacked a running game, so he had to take to the air. He threw four interceptions.

OBSERVATIONS

Injuries played a factor: Lexington played without last year’s leading tackler, Trey Mitchell, and quarterback Brandon Blake. It might not have made much difference, but Mitchell was the heart and soul of the defense. Blake battled Donny Baker all preseason for the starting spot, but an injured shoulder kept him out of action.

Lexington’s offensive line is a work in progress: With only one starter returning, Lexington coach Josh Stepp knew it was going to take time for the line to gel. They lacked getting a push up front against the smaller and quicker Westside team. They have to find a way to get Slade Carroll more involved in the offense.

Westside is for real: The Rams pitched a shutout last week over Clover and were just as impressive this week on the defensive side of the ball. They will face better offenses, but they’re quick and fly to the football. Earley might have a contender on his hands.

THEY SAID IT

“First off, that’s a very good defensive team. It’s going to take our offensive line some time to gel together. We only have one returning starter. We’ll get there.” – Lexington coach Josh Stepp on lack of running game

“You can’t turn the ball over that many times and expect to beat a good football team,” – Stepp

“We can run and our staff does a great job. We’re schematically sound and can run. Anytime you can do that, you have a chance” – Westside coach Scott Earley on his defense

“I love the Midlands and Lake Murray. I appreciated everything they did for me. I have a lot of strong relationships and friends still in Lexington.” Earley on coaching back in the Midlands for the first time since leaving Lexington.

KEY NUMBERS

143: Total number of penalty yards for Westside. Earley said the 14 penalties will not work when the Rams face some of the teams on their schedule.

4: Number of interceptions by the Westside defense.

11: Williamson completed 11 passes in a row over the second and third quarters.

44: Total number of yards passing for backup quarterback Chase Crouch in one series. Only a sophomore, he might be the future.

HOW THEY SCORED

2nd Quarter

W – Quinn Wright 3 run. (kick blocked) 8:52

L – Christian Kinsley 33 FG 6:08

W – Wright 7 run (Antonio Lomax pass from Jackson Williamson) 2:38

3rd Quarter

W – Dre Gaines (Chance Poore kick) 2:47

4th Quarter

W – Poore 43 FG 10:52

W – Poore 31 FG 3:12

L – Jayson Hopper 31 pass from Chance Poore (Kinsley kick) 0:53

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: W – Quinn Wright 28-158, Matthew Martin 1-22, Antonio Lomax 2-9, Jordan Blue 1-3, Jackson Williamson 8-19, Jyston Kendrick 2-75, Team 2-(-12). L – Slade Carroll 12-26, Donny Baker 3-(-16), Ervin Greene 2-3, Team 1-(-12)

Passing: W – Williamson 21-27-0-215, Jyston Kendrick 0-1-0, Team 0-1-0. L – Baker 19-30-4-186, Chase Crouch 2-3-0-44

Receiving: W – Martin 5-44, Drek Thomas 4-75, Lomax 1-12, Wright 6-51, Kendrick 5-33. L – Jayson Hopper 11-82, Tyler Schadewald 3-76, Daiquan Wells 3-30, Oscar Ferguson 2-38, Jason Rumph 1-9, Eric Ricker 1-(-4).

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