SPRINGFIELD – West Liberty-Salem scored in just about every way imaginable on Friday, routing Catholic Central to the tune of 45-6 in Ohio Heritage Conference football.
The Tigers dominated from the first snap, with lineman Trevor Burden batting down a pass at the line and intercepting it, going 21 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 WL-S lead.
On the first offensive possession for WL-S, Brandon Wolfe carried the ball for a pair of long gains and capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run to make it 14-0.
The second quarter opened with the Tigers receiving a punt and then quarterback Luke Woods throwing a long strike to a wide open Ben Hyland for the touchdown.
It was more misfortune for the Irish on the next drive, as Levi Moell intercepted a pass and set the Tigers up inside the SCC 20. A couple of plays later, Woods scrambled into the end zone from 7 yards out to make it 28-0.
The visitors capped off an impressive first-half performance with a punt return for a touchdown. Moell made a nifty move up the middle to make a couple of would-be tacklers miss, then darted outside past the remaining coverage with help from a wall of blockers.
“It was fantastic to see the kids put it together in all three phases,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “I thought our special teams took another step forward tonight. That’s been big for us the past few weeks. Anytime you can steal a score in that phase of the game, it’s a huge benefit.”
The second half was played with a running clock due to the margin, with the Tigers scoring on a one-yard run by Braden Miller and a field goal when a drive by the backups stalled out inside the red zone.
Catholic Central was able to get a touchdown on the board with a big pass and a 20-yard scamper by Dominic Dewitt, who had 86 yards for the game.
“It was a great game and a lot of guys got to play,” McGill said.
For the Tigers, Brandon Wolfe had 9 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Luke Woods had 46 yards and a score on 10 carries. Woods also hit 2 of his 3 passing attempts for 55 yards and a touchdown.
The Tigers believe they will earn a berth in the playoffs in Division VI, Region 24 with the victory and wins by Ada and Bishop Ready. Both teams were winning big as of press time Friday night.
“I think that’s correct. I’m no mathematician, but that’s how it seems,” McGill said.
And if they do get in, a matchup with top-seeded Marion Local next week seems to be the prize.
“At the end of the day, we don’t care who we play. We’re just happy to be playing football for another week,” McGill said.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.