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Prep football: ’Cats display the defense

West Ranch stays perfect at 3-0 with a road victory

Posted: September 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 17, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

LANCASTER — Somewhat overshadowed on the West Ranch football team through the first two weeks has been the stellar play of its defense.

Yet, for the third straight week, the Wildcats’ defense took charge early and shutout Eastside High in a 35-0 West Ranch victory Friday night at Antelope Valley High School.

In a game that West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien hoped would feature an increased Wildcats air attack, the offense struggled early, accounting for just three yards passing in the first half.

Again, though, the running game picked up the slack for West Ranch (3-0), as running back Jeff Coprich ran for 80 first-half yards and a touchdown on his way to 17 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown for the game.

And the ground game didn’t end there.

Running back Zahr Lyttle exploded for a 52-yard touchdown carry late in the third quarter and an 8-yard carry for a score in the first to finish with three carries for 64 yards.

Coprich’s second touchdown came with just 1:08 left in the second quarter and gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead at halftime over the Lions (0-3).

West Ranch fullback Jake Miura took the ball into the end zone on consecutive possessions in the third quarter on a 5-yard run with 5:23 left in the third and a 1-yard run with 2:48 left in the third to put the Wildcats up 28-0.

The passing game picked up slightly in the second half, as quarterback Gerrit Mouw finished 5-of-11 with 100 yards.

The bright spot, though, was that Mouw completed all four of his passes in the second half, highlighted by a 50-yard pass to Kyle Alexander to set up a score.

“I let the team down in the first half,” Mouw said. “But we came out in the second half and we woke up.”

Still leading 14-0 midway through the third quarter, Mouw found wide receiver Matt Christensen for a 39-yard completion to set up Miura’s first touchdown two plays later.

“They were just throwing the ball up,” said Eastside head coach Richard Lear. “Give it to the West Ranch receivers, but our (defensive backs) have got to make a play on the ball.”

The Wildcats defense never had any problems making plays, forcing two first-half fumbles and holding Eastside quarterback Cody Parker to just 33 yards passing on a 4-of-17 performance with one interception.

Lions running back Deontre Cummings led the team with just 18 yards on nine carries.

“If you want to name a defensive player of the game,” O’Brien said. “You could name 11 guys.”

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