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Prep football: ’Cats change course

After a disappointing loss in opener, West Ranch is different team in Game 2

Posted: September 10, 2010 11:41 p.m.
Updated: September 11, 2010 4:55 a.m.

LANCASTER - After last week's season-opening loss, West Ranch bounced back in a big way to defeat Lancaster High decisively Friday at Lancaster's Lou Bozigian Field.

Quarterback Connor Eichten posted a nearly perfect game to help the Wildcats win 52-30. He finished 17-of-20 for 361 yards and four touchdowns and had plenty of time to stand in the pocket all night long.

"When he's on, he's going to be hard to beat," said West Ranch head coach Sean O'Brien.

It was a different story than a week ago, when West Ranch fell 39-14 to Nordhoff.

"They say the biggest improvement happens between games one and two," O'Brien said.

Eichten was quick to give credit to his favorite target of the game, senior wide receiver Josh Guzman, who hauled in seven catches for 201 yards and two touchdowns.

"Josh was outstanding," Eichten said. "He was making plays all night long. All I was doing was throwing it up there and he was doing all the work."

One of those plays happened to be West Ranch's first offensive down of the game.

Guzman caught a 31-yard pass deep down the right sideline on a first down from the Wildcats' own 1-yard line.

The opening drive ended in a West Ranch field goal, but the offense managed to score touchdowns on its next five possessions.

Guzman's scoring receptions, which came off a deep pass in the first half and a short dump off in the second, were 60 and 50 yards respectively.

Lancaster (0-1) struggled to keep up with West Ranch (1-1), which seemed to move the ball at will.

After a 68-yard touchdown pass on a screen play from senior quarterback Kurt Hauser gave the Eagles  a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, it looked like the Wildcats could have a battle on their hands.

As it turned out, that was the last time the Eagles led.

Hauser tallied 19 completions in 34 attempts for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Most of Lancaster's scoring came on big plays that were often aided by missed tackles.

Lancaster only made one trip inside the red zone, which resulted in a Hauser 15-yard touchdown strike.

As West Ranch extended its lead, the gameplan quickly switched to the ground game, which was anchored by Ben Milleman.

The team's top rusher picked up 71 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Though happy with the offensive production, O'Brien said the defense still has its work cut out.

"We will not survive at this rate on defense," O'Brien said. "We have to get better."

The Wildcats will test their defense again next Friday when they host Eastside of Lancaster.



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