The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
The West Prairie-La Harpe Cyclones used a punishing ground attack and an opportunistic defense to knock off the host West Central Heat 41-12 last Friday night.
The win improves the Cyclones record to 2-1 in the West Prairie Trails North Conference and to 3-2 overall, while the Heat falls to 1-2 and 2-3 respectively.
The game was a see-saw affair early as the teams traded first half TD's on their initial possessions. After an interception, junior safety Skyler Pence stopped the opening Heat drive, the Cyclones marched down the field to score on a 10-play drive. A drive from one yard out by senior halfback Matt Woolam capped the drive and his successful PAT kick gave WP-LH an early 7-0 advantage.
The Heat answered with a scoring drive of their own, but the Cyclones stopped the crucial extra point run to salvage a 7-6 edge. WP-LH then answered with a nice kick-off return and 7-play scoring drive.
Junior quarterback, Bryan Rodeffer ended the drive with a 24-yard bootleg run around right end to the end zone. The Cyclones faked the PAT kick and added 2 points on Noel DeCounter's dash to the zone. The Cyclones now led 15-8.
The Heat again answered, this time with a 15 play scoring march. The big 2 point conversion attempt was turned away by the Cyclone defense and this allowed WP-LH to maintain a 15-12 edge.
Following the Heat score, the Cyclones again stepped up to the challenge. A huge kick-off return by DeCounter gave them possession deep in Heat territory with about 3:00 minutes left on the clock. Woolam's successful PAT kick moved the Cyclone edge to 22-12.
The Heat would take the kick and try to get an answering score before intermission. They were denied this opportunity when Cyclone junior defensive back Blake Harper kicked off an errant Heat pass attempt. Harper's pick sent the teams into halftime with WP-LH up by 10 points.
The second half swung quickly on two big drives. The Cyclones took the opening kick-off and went smartly down the field mixing up their running backs. A short drive by Woolam gave WP-LH a 28-12 advantage with 9:18 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Heat looked to answer and marched down the field using 18 plays and all the rest of the third period. However, the first play of the fourth period ended the Heat's hopes when a big hit by Woolam dislodged the football from the Heat ball carrier.
Senior tackle Brice James recovered for the Cyclones at the 4-yard line to put out the Heat's fire.
WP-LH then completely wiped out any lingering hope West Central might have had of a comeback by marching 94 yards in 11 plays to another score. Bryan Rodeffer finished the drive with a 13-yard dash around the right end to the end zone. Dustin Derry came into boot the extra point for a 35-12 Cyclone lead.
The Cyclones got it right back following a short Heat punt and quickly used 3 plays to score again. This final score on a 20-yard run by DeCounter set the final margin at 41-12 in favor of the Cyclones.
The Cyclones ground out 371 yards of rushing in this game for their entire offensive output. They used 50 total carries by 8 backs to amass that total. The Cyclone offensive line did a tremendous job up front and controlled the line of scrimmage. Center Evan Wisely, guards Zach Doscher, Dustin Derry, and Roger James, tackles Brice James and Justin Ward, and tight ends Skyler Pence, Lance Ward, and Jason Coplan really stepped up and took charge of this game.
DeCounter was the leading rusher with 119 yards on 16 carries. Rodeffer ran for 93 yards on only 7 attempts, while Woolam and Brian Butterfield added 53 and 78 yards respectively. Senior Kylen Carpenter had 2 attempts for 9 yards, Derrick Daudelin had a pair for 8 yards, and Blake Harper had a single 4 yard carry. Rodeffer did not attempt a pass in this contest.
The Cyclone defense held West Central under 4 yards a carry overall and well under 3 yards per attempt minus one long run early by the Heat quarterback. The WP-LH tackle chart included Woolam (12 total stops), Derry (9 total stops), Wisely (9 total stops), Pence (6), Butterfield (6), Justin Ward (6), Harper (5), Brytton Mason (5), and Coplan (5).
Also on the chart were DeCounter, Carpenter, Daniel Patterson, Derek Van Fleet, Brice James, Jared Schwerer, Keith Rittenhouse, and Dakota Hicks.
The Cyclones return to action this Friday night at La Harpe Community Field. The game will be the 2006 homecoming and the opponent will be the Mustangs of Mendon Unity-Payson Seymour. It is slated to kickoff at 7:00 p.m.