SPEEDWAY – It was all going to come down to the trenches on Friday night in the Sectional 37 opener between Western Boone and Speedway.
And that was just fine with the Stars. WeBo rushed for 213 yards on 34 carries and controlled the line of scrimmage all night in a 25-3 win over the Sparkplugs.
“There’s a lot that goes into that,” Western Boone head coach Justin Pelley said. “It’s the strength and conditioning, with coach (Nate) Birk coming in there now, and then the job (Matthan) Gadbury does with them. We are undersized, but it’s a big credit to those guys on the o-line, they just stay low and drive.”
It wasn’t just the Stars offensive line that controlled the game.
The Western Boone defense slowed down Speedway all game long.
In the second half, Speedway only managed just negative-10 yards and got two first downs.
They never crossed midfield.
“I am really proud of our kids,” Pelley said. “I knew Speedway was going to come out fighting, and they have some really good kids that play hard. Our kids woke up as the game went on. It’s all about how you respond and our kids have done that all year long.”
Western Boone took a 6-0 lead on their first drive of the game, covering 55 yards in 10 plays.
Robby Taylor carried the ball eight of the first nine plays of the drive to get it to the Spedway 13, but facing third-and-7, Elliott Young found Connor Garrity on a quick slant, and Garrity broke a tackle and scored.
Speedway kicked a 34-yard field goal with 2:06 left in the half, but Ryan Taylor had a long kick-off return to the Speedway 37.
After a 34-yard run by Luke Marsh, Robby Taylor punched it in from 3-yards out to make it 12-3 at the half.
Taylor finished the game with 144 yards on 29 carries.
“Robby is built for games like this,” Pelley said. “He is a mudder. He was like a kid in the candy store tonight. That is tough sledding inside the hashes, but he is built for that.”
Western Boone extended the lead 2:07 left in the third quarter, when Young found Clayton Hysong for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
It was the first reception of Hysong’s career, who also had six tackles for a loss and a couple of sacks in the game.
“He made some big plays off the edge for us,” Pelley said. “Our defense played really well. Our young linebackers got hit the mouth a little bit early, but they stuck with it, fought back and responded.”
A botched snap on a punt on Speedway’s next drive gave the Stars the ball on the 15, and Taylor scored from six yards out to seal the win.
With poor weather conditions, there wasn’t much throwing for either team, but Young finished 3 of 4 for 44 yards and two scores.
Marsh added 68 yards rushing on just four carries.
Western Boone will host North Putnam in the sectional semifinal next Friday.
Pelley said the Stars have to clean up some of the penalties they had, but are heading in the right direction.
“That may have been more penalties than we have had all year,” Pelley said. “We have to cut down on unforced errors. The conditions don’t help, but that doesn’t mean you false start, or hold or things like that.”
Article compliments of Will Willems