By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — Kieron Hardrick knew early on his team wasn’t ready. When Westmoore held only a 7-0 lead after the first quarter against Muskogee, the senior saw they weren’t focused on the task at hand.
However, as with many good teams, the Jaguars didn’t have to be at their best to win as they thrashed the Roughers 48-7 Friday at Moore Stadium.
“We started off a little slow in this game because we thought they were going to lay over,” Hardrick said. “We have to learn not to do that anymore. But after that, we did pretty good.”
It was Westmoore’s defense that came to play from the very start. Linebacker Austin Freeman picked off Muskogee (0-5) quarterback Quintahj Cherryl on the third play from scrimmage.
It didn’t take long for the Jaguars’ offense to make the Roughers pay. Hardrick plunged across the goalline for a 1-yard touchdown to give WMH a 7-0 lead.
Matt Day came up with Westmoore’s second interception of the day on the first play of the second quarter. Cherryl attempted to throw a screen pass and it went directly to Day at the Roughers’ 47-yard line.
However, Westmoore’s offense was not performing at its normal level of efficiency. They were unable to get their run game going or anything through the air early. The 11 penalties for 112 yards didn’t help.
“We have to do something about penalties,” Westmoore coach Billy Langford said. “That’s pretty much back-to-back weeks where we had way too many penalties. That will be a point of emphasis. Without those things we take care of it really early.”
But the Jaguars’ defense continued to give the offense chances to get rolling. Denver Beebe recovered a fumble at the Roughers’ 7-yard line. It led to the second of Hardrick’s three touchdowns and put Westmoore up 14-0.
“Once we get the run game going, it’s real hard to beat us,” Hardrick said. “When the run game and passing game are going, it’s impossible to stop. I don’t think anybody can stop us. Because you can’t shut down the run and not pay attention to the pass.”
The Roughers made the decision to not let the Jags’ Dahu Green have a field day against their secondary. For much of the first half, they double teamed the 6-3, 185 pound junior wideout.
But midway through the second period, Muskogee left its cornerback on an island with Green and he took advantage. He caught a 31-yard pass to put Westmoore deep into Roughers’ territory. Two plays later, once again seeing man-to-man coverage, Green caught a touchdown pass to put the Jags 20-0.
“I get excited every time I see someone close up to me single covered, I’m sure every receiver gets it,” Green said. “But oh yeah, it’s my time.”
Muskogee didn’t help themselves by turning the ball over five times while also being flagged 12 times in the half. MHS accounted for 20 penalties for 178 yards for the entire game.
The first drive of the third quarter signified the entire game for Muskogee. After holding the Jaguars and forcing them to punt, a Rougher was called for roughing the kicker. A second personal foul was called on same play, which gave the Jags the ball near midfield.
Later in the drive, Green once again made his presence felt. He caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in which he leapt over the defender and snatched the ball out of the air with two hands.
Green finished the night with five catches for 93 yards, two touchdowns and one impressed opposing coach.
“I think I’d throw it up to that receiver about every play,” Muskogee coach Josh Blankenship said. “We had guys in position. There was absolutely nothing we could do. Nothing we could do. It was unbelievable.”
Westmoore moved to 5-0 on the season and kept pace with No. 1 Jenks in the race for the District 6A-2 crown. While the Jags will face the Trojans Oct. 18, they do not plan to over look Putnam City, who they play at 7 p.m. Friday at Putnam City Stadium.
“Last year we lost to (Putnam City),” junior Dahu Green said. “We got something coming for them. Wee will be ready to play.”