By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — It was a game-changing play. With Westmoore trailing 6-0, Jhames West had driven his team down to Broken Arrow’s 2-yard line with just seconds left in first half.
Normally, coach Billy Langford would just run the ball behind his huge offensive line and pick up the two yards needed with ease. But this time he went away from his team’s bread and butter and called a pass play. It’s a call he most likely wants to take back.
The Tigers’ Ryan Alger intercepted West’s pass at the 1-yard line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. BA took a 13 -0 lead into halftime and the Jaguars were unable to make up the lost ground and fell 26-13.
“We still had chances in the second half,” Westmoore coach Billy Langford said. “Had it cut to seven. And just can’t quite get over the hump. Big challenge this week. We will see what happens.”
The loss dropped Westmoore (6-4) to third place in District 6A-2 and prevents them from hosting a first-round game in the upcoming playoffs. Instead, it will now travel to Tulsa on Friday to face No. 1 Union (8-2) at 7:30 p.m.
“I hope our guys understand that Jenks Union, Broken Arrow and Owasso are probably about the same,” Langford said. “I think all those teams are pretty much very comparable. Hope it will give ours guys confidence to go if we play a good, clean game, and make the makes we need to make and execute the right way, we will have a good chance to win.”
However, the road has not been kind to Westmoore this year. In four games away from Moore Stadium, the Jaguars have compiled a 2-2 record.
However, it’s two wins came against teams with a combined record of 7-13. Its losses were to No. 1 Jenks and No. 3 Broken Arrow.
West said beating good teams on the road is all about belief.
“It needs to stop being, ‘we can play with these teams,’” West said. “It needs to be ‘we can beat these teams.’ It starts with me being a senior quarterback. It starts with the all other senior leaders. We need to tell our guys we can beat them. Not just play with them and keep it close.”
Behind a balanced and potent attack, the Redskins average more than 42 points per game. Quarterback Hunter Atyia has thrown for 1,677 yards and 14 touchdowns and Justin Silmon has rushed for 842 yards and 13 TDs. But it’s the receiving trio of Jeffery Mead, Chris Hall and Kahlil Barnett that has toe Jags coaching staff concerned.
“They have some really good wideouts, Tall and athletic,” Langford said. “Our secondary guys are going to have their hands full. Everybody on defense will have to play well.”
Westmoore will use its running game to control the clock and keep the Redskins offense off the field. But it can’t have the same rash of turnovers it has had in other big games if they intend to win.
“We can play with anybody in this state,” West said. “We feel that in order to go beat those teams we have to limit the turnovers and just play discipline football all around. Including me. For us to beat Union, that’s what is going to have to happen. But we can play with them. We can play with anybody.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org