2A Football: Bearcats Defense Stifles Warriors
Steel-Claw Curtain: W.F. West Allows Only 58 Yards in 41-0 Win Over Rochester
By Jordan Nailon
A great defense is the key to a good offense.
It’s an axiom as old as leather helmets but that has stood the test of time far better than those antiquated brain buckets. W.F. West proved the age-old merits of that statement here Friday night as they held Rochester to just 58 total yards of offense in a 41-0 win in 2A Evergreen Conference Play.
“Our defense tonight was lights out. We were swarming around the ball and they had negative yards running the ball in the first half,” said W.F. West coach Dan Hill. “I thought our defensive line played really, really well tonight. They controlled the box tonight.”
In addition to holding the Warriors to less than 180 feet of total offense, and zero passing yards, they also surrendered just three first downs en route to the shutout. Along the way both Cade Haller and Carter McCoy hauled in interceptions on behalf of the stingy Bearcat defense that continuously set their offensive counterparts up with advantageous field position.
W.F. West put up their first points halfway through the first quarter after Haller returned his interception to the one yard line before Lafe Johnson punched in his first rushing score of the night.
The Bearcats second scoring drive of the night was also their longest. That 89-yard scoring excursion consisted of eight plays over 3:39 and was capped off by a 28-yard lightning bolt pattern touchdown burst from Jaiyden Camoza.
A few minutes into the second quarter the Bearcats defense put their own points up on the board when Max Taylor added to the Bearcats lead by returning a 55-yard Patrick Riley punt from the back of the endzone all the way back to the house for a score. Before the half was over Lafe Johnson added a two-yard rushing touchdown to his resume while Camoza hopscotched his second score of the night from four yards out to give W.F. West a 34-0 lead heading into half. After the intermission Johnson added another two-yard rushing touchdown to his tally to cap off the scoring. He finished the night with 152 yards rushing and three touchdowns while Camoza rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Hill noted that it was only the second game all year that his team has had both of their top tier running backs healthy at the same time.
“It’s absolutely huge. (Camoza) finally came back last week and we finally have our two tailbacks back. He just gives us so much more depth and keeps guys fresher, you can see it when they are out there, there’s no fatigue setting in,” Hill explained.
W.F. West quarterback Josiah Johnson threw for another 78 yards of offense while Leandre Gaines caught three passes for 53 yards and Carver Brennan caught one pass for 19 yards.
For all of the offensive output though it was still the hard hitting defense that cleared the way for the Bearcats on Friday night. Senior linebacker Zach Sloan helped to anchor the defensive unit and insisted that smash mouth football is the only brand his teammates know.
“Since Junior Cats, TCYS, we’ve always been big hitters. That’s what we pride ourselves on and that’s what people know us for,” said Sloan. “We really try to emphasize getting to the ball and if people are making big plays then we just go on from there.”
Hill agreed with Sloan’s assessment and said that the senior captain has been imperative to the Bearcats early successes.
“Zach is the captain of that defense. He gets us where we need to be and he’s doing a great job of that and the guys are following his lead. He’s flying around hitting people,” Hill said.
After putting up 34 unanswered points in the first half Hill said he challenged his players to keep the pressure on until the final horn sounded. That approach held true even as the game entered into running-clock territory with a 40 point differential and the Bearcats began to enter their reserve players on boths sides of the ball.
“That was what we preached at halftime was to keep the zero on the scoreboard. No matter who was in there that was the goal. The objective was to fly around and tackle and cause turnovers and our number twos and our number threes did that. Everyone played well,” said Hill.
For Rochester the wet weather and a dearth of healthy players prevented them from getting any footing on the evening. Nine fumbles, including five that were lost, were their biggest nemesis throughout the game. Grayson Johnson carried the ball four times for a team-high 48 yards while Enrique Sanchez rushed for 18 yards and racked up scores of yards on a collection of kickoff and punt returns.
W.F. West (3-3, 1-1 league) will travel to Tumwater next week, while Rochester (1-5, 0-2 league) will play at Centralia.
BEARCATS 41, WARRIORS 0
Rochester 0 0 0 0 — 0
W.F. West 14 20 0 7 — 41
WFW — Lafe Johnson 1-yard run; Bryce Laufenberg kick
WFW — Jaiyden Camoza 28-yard run; Laufenberg kick
WFW — May Taylor 52-yard punt return; Laufenberg kick
WFW — L. Johnson 2-yard run; Laufenberg kick
WFW — Camoza 4-yard run; Kick fail
WFW — Lafe Johnson 2-yard run; Laufenberg kick
Team Stats ROC WFW
First Downs 3 17
Rushing Yards 58 227
Passing Yards 0 78
Total Yards 58 305
Comp-Att-Int 0-8-2 5-11-0
Fumbles/Lost 5/4 3/2
Penalties/Yards 2/15 6/42
Rushing: ROC — Grayson Johnson 4/48, Enrique Sanchez 5/18; WFW — Lafe Johnson 18/152, Jaiyden Camoza 11/72
Passing: ROC — Daniel May 0-8/0; WFW — Josiah Johnson 5-11/78
Receiving: ROC — N/A; WFW — Leandre Gaines 3/53/1, Carver Brennan 1/19