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Prep Football: ’Cats lose balance

West Ranch struggles to find its offense in loss to perennial Southern Section power Moorpark

Posted: August 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

MOORPARK — West Ranch did little to address some of the questions that have nagged it during the offseason in its season opener on Friday night at Moorpark High, the most glaring of which was if the Wildcats could establish a more balanced offense.

The offense struggled from the beginning against a larger and faster Moorpark squad, and the Musketeers ran away with a 31-0 victory that was never in doubt.

West Ranch Senior quarterback Gerrit Mouw struggled to find receivers down field, and was pressured by the defensive front of Moorpark.

The ground game did little to alleviate the pressure, as seniors Zahr Lyttle and Mark Collins rarely had holes to run through, and when they did, neither could get very far before being chased down by Musketeer defenders.

“They’re extremely good — very, very talented on both sides of the ball,” said West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien of Moorpark. “Being one dimensional was difficult.”

Moorpark quarterback Austin Cole found open receivers all game long, finishing with 124 yards on 10-of-17 passes with one touchdown.

Things were more difficult for his counterpart, as Mouw was pressured for much of the night, and overthrew multiple open receivers deep down field.

Mouw completed 9-of-20 pass attempts for 78 yards and an interception.

But O’Brien didn’t think the game should cause anyone to lose confidence in the senior signal caller.

“It was actually a huge step forward,” O’Brien said of Mouw, adding that the quarterback continued to play within the game plan and didn’t panic when the deficit mounted.

Still, the struggles for the offense as a whole were evident. The Wildcats’ offense managed just three first-half first downs, all on Moorpark defensive penalties, and had just two yards of total offense through three quarters.

The defense struggled, as well, with Moorpark getting on the board early, scoring on a 1-yard sneak by Cole to cap an 11-play, 73-yard opening drive, before Cole hit Tyler Collet with a 24-yard scoring strike on Moorpark’s second possession to give the Musketeers a 14-0 lead with 23.1 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Eric Kreitz added a field goal from 36 yards and backup running back Paul Puebla added a 2-yard run with 5:50 to play to put the Musketeers ahead 31-0.

West Ranch looked like it would get on the board late in the fourth, when it drove 78 yards to the Moorpark 2-yard line.

But an illegal formation penalty gave the Wildcats a 4th-and-6 from the 7-yard line, and Mouw’s pass was dropped by Rawston Redick to end the threat.

Redick ended the game as the Wildcats’ leading receiver, hauling in six passes for 58 yards.

Lyttle had 16 yards on the ground on nine carries to lead West Ranch, and Moorpark’s Aaron Stanton ran for a game-high 98 yards on 18 carries.

Brendan Hodgson was the game’s leading receiver, catching four passes for 59 yards for Moorpark.

The Wildcats return to the field on a short week of rest, traveling to Burbank on Thursday.

jstein@the-signal.com

661-287-5536

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