It was billed as a game of offense, and Norman North and Westmoore didn’t disappoint. The two teams combined to run more than 100 plays on Friday and scored a total of 76 points.
But it was Westmoore that came out on the right side of that figure. A sloppy game all around, it was the Jaguars who made more big plays on offense and got the stops they needed to hold on for the 45-31 victory.
No. 8 Westmoore (3-0) convincingly made its case for being one of the best teams in the west in the win over 10th-ranked North. The Jaguars rolled to a staggering 624 yards of offense in the game and never trailed.
“It wasn’t always pretty, but we’re 3-0,” Westmoore coach Billy Langford told his team after the game. “The defense stepped up when we needed to. That’s a tough game, but we came out and got after it.”
North (1-2) was also able to move the ball on offense, but the Timberwolves shot themselves in the foot all night long.
One crucial third-quarter series summed up the Timberwolves’ trouble. Down 28-17, they made a fourth-down stop on the Jaguars and the defense came off the field fired up. After an incomplete pass on first down, North quarterback David Cornwell fired a pass downfield to tight end Tyler Sipe, who — perhaps looking at the wide-open field in front of him — dropped the ball. On third down, Cornwell found Quan Hogan 10 yards upfield, but the sophomore took a step back to try and juke the defender and ended up costing himself the first down.
That put North into a fourth-and-one situation, and the T-Wolves went to their patented “U-Haul” formation with Payton Prince in the backfield. But Prince lost the snap, and Westmoore took over on downs.
It was one of many mistakes made by both teams, which combined for 28 penalties on the night. Thirteen of those came against North, and many were costly, either stalling out a T-Wolves drive or extending a Jaguar one.
In the end, it was too much to overcome for North, which kept it close in the second half but could never land more than a glancing blow. Once, the T-Wolves cut the lead to seven points but Westmoore responded by returning the ensuing kickoff to midfield and then scoring three plays later when Bryson Lee punched it into the end zone. The Jaguars punted just once on the night, with the kick coming with three minutes left in the game.
Lee had a monster game, throwing for 367 yards while running for 91 more on his way to four touchdowns. North had big games out of its stars as well, with Cornwell throwing for 340 yards and three scores without an interception, while wide receiver Nick Basquine grabbed 10 balls for 211 yards and three touchdowns.
Injuries also played a role for both squads, with North missing linebackers Trevor and Trace Magee, while Westmoore’s Dahu Green and Matt Whitney both went out with injuries.
When Westmoore faces Bixby Friday, it will be without Whitney, who is expected to have surgery Monday after dislocating his ankle. However, Green is considered probable despite an elbow injury.