Westview effort falls short to Milan
Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 12:02 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
Westview head coach Don Coady will take the effort every time. Now, he just needs it to result in a few Friday night wins.
The Chargers fell short this past Friday night, 16-7, in a gritty battle with Class 3A’s No. 1-ranked Milan at Johnnie Hale Stadium, unable to overcome two first-half touchdowns in the District 13AA setback.
Westview is now 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the league and is in a position where every remaining regular season game is critical to its postseason hopes. Milan, meanwhile, controls its own postseason destiny with a 6-0 overall record and 3-0 league mark.
Coady feels his team will be in a strong playoff position if it can turn effort into wins over the next month.
“I thought we had a good effort,” Coady said. “We’ve made a lot of progress the last four or five weeks, and hopefully we’ll continue to get that the remainder of the year. I told our guys that if we can improve the next four weeks as we have the last four, we’re going to be a good football team by the end of the year.”
In a game where the statistics were fairly even — Milan outgained the Chargers in total offense, 181-170, while Westview had 13 first downs to the Bulldogs’ 10 — field position became a big factor.
And, some special teams plays turned out big for the Bulldogs in pushing the home team to the early two-touchdown lead.
Kevius Finch returned a punt 55 yards to give the Bulldogs just 20 yards to go on its first scoring drive, and then a Charger punt blocked by Braxton Simpson and recovered by Londre Hicks put the ’Dogs just 39 yards away from their second TD early in the second quarter.
Arkel Coleman scored on a two-yard run for the first score, at 4:09 of the first period, and then Trey Belew scored on a 10-yard run at 8:07 of the second frame for Milan.
Meanwhile, the Chargers never had good starting field position, beginning drives on their own 20, 19, 27, 14, 35, 28, 14 and 10. Of Westview’s 52 offensive plays, only 15 snaps were taken on the Bulldogs’ side of the midfield stripe with nine of those on the Chargers’ lone scoring drive late in the first half.
“The field position was tough for us,” Coady said. “We couldn’t seem to string together enough plays to turn the field around. We’re not a big-play team. We’re not going to score from 80 yards out. We have to drive down and get in scoring territory. Milan did a good job defensively of keeping us bottled up on our end.”
Westview did have one of those drives Coady referred to by stringing together 15 plays in the game’s most impressive sequence.
Using some option plays just added to the Chargers’ script in recent weeks and unveiled for the first time, Westview quarterback Ryne Vinson methodically marched his team downfield 73 yards. He completed passes for 10, 19 and seven yards and kept twice on options for four and 14 yards, converting four third-down conversions along the way, to put the Chargers in position for a score that eventually came with 1:13 left in the half.
Quan Williams finished with a one-yard plunge, and then Wesley Grimes provided the extra point to get the Chargers within 13-7 at the half.
“We put an option package in,” Coady said. “That was actually Ryne’s first night to run it, and he looked like he knew what he was doing at times. He made some good decisions and got us some good plays. We’ve been struggling offensively and trying to find some ways to develop more of a perimeter game, and I think we found that tonight.”
The score remained that way through the third quarter and most of the fourth as each team’s defense found ways to steal momentum. Westview’s R.J. Scott picked off two passes and the Chargers recovered a fumble, while Milan forced Westview to punt three times while also recovering a fumble.
It was the third Westview punt that proved to be charm for the ’Dogs as Finch took the kick 24 yards to the Charger 30. That set up Caleb Appleton for a 43-yard field goal with 1:55 to play.
Trying to get one more score before the game ended, Vinson completed an 11-yard pass to Alexander and throws of five and 26 to Will Thompson, but an intentional grounding call thwarted a drive that ultimately ended in a fumble.
Despite its 1-2 league record, Westview is tied with South Gibson for second place in the district among 3A playoff schools.
The Chargers will host Dyerburg, one of six 4A programs in the 10-team district, Friday night at Graham Stadium
The Trojans come with a 4-2 overall record and 2-1 league mark. Published in the WCP 10.4.11