KINNIKINNICK — When asked about Westfall snapping a six-game losing skid against Scioto Valley Conference rival Zane Trace on Friday, a smile came across the face of senior Chanston Moll.
“We’ve been shutout the last couple of times we played Zane Trace, including the last time we played on this field,” Moll said. “We were really focused for this game and we wanted to do our job and change the way things have been going in this series.
“It feels good to come down and get the win and finally beat them. We want to restore our tradition and every win is a step in trying to do that.”
The Mustangs were dominant on both sides of the football in a 38-6 win to ruin the Pioneers’ homecoming.
Zane Trace was held to just 13 yards of offense in the first half and didn’t register a first down until an eight-yard pass from Gabe Shanton to Ben Nichols with 3:30 remaining until halftime. The Pioneers finished with just 69 yards of total offense, 32 of which came on a touchdown run by Shanton in the third quarter.
“Our defensive line did a great job of winning the line of scrimmage and our front seven really clamped down on Zane Trace’s running game,” said Moll, who had an interception. “That allowed us to fly around in the secondary, hit hard and make plays.”
Westfall wasted no time in reaching the scoreboard, taking the opening kickoff and putting together a six-play, 78-yard drive.
A 48-yard run by Trenton Davis set the Mustangs up inside the red zone. Five plays later, facing third-and-goal on the 13, Marcus Whaley connected with Lucas List on a touchdown pass to make it 7-0, following the first of two extra points by Tyler Bowens.
“Our offensive line did a nice job of opening up holes for our running game and then they also did a nice job of giving me lanes to throw through that I could make good reads on,” Whaley said.
The Mustangs took control of the game with a 19-point second quarter and benefited from a pair of Zane Trace fumbles.
“Our defense stepped up and made some plays and then we got on a nice roll with our offense,” Whaley said.
Trey Keeton set the Mustangs up on the Zane Trace 19 after recovering the first fumble.
A five-yard penalty put the Mustangs behind schedule, as they faced third-and-goal from the Zane Trace 15. A 14-yard pass from Whaley to Blackburn put the Mustangs just short of the goal line, with Whaley plunging across it on the next play to make it 14-0.
The Pioneers fumbled on their ensuing possession, giving the Mustangs the ball on the ZT 34. Whaley wasted no time, connecting with Hayden Lemaster on a touchdown strike to expand the lead to 20-0.
A 21-yard punt following the next Zane Trace possession gave the Mustangs the football just 30 yards from pay dirt. Whaley connected with Davis on a 25-yard touchdown strike on fourth-and-five to make it 26-0.
The Mustangs scored twice in the second half, first on a 55-yard kickoff return by Lemaster that followed the Shanton touchdown. Trenton Paige capped scoring with a six-yard touchdown run with 66 seconds remaining.
Westfall generated 280 of its 341 yards of total offense by halftime. Whaley was 9 of 12 for 128 yards and three touchdowns and added 41 yards rushing and another score.
Davis led the way on the ground, covering 138 yards in 18 carries.
Westfall coach Brad Smith reflected on a pair of strengths his team has shown in the first half of the season, along with a few lessons they’ll take from the win.
“Our passing game has been pretty efficient this season and we’ve also valued the football with just two interceptions, one of which I made a bad call on, in our first five games,” he said. “Our defensive front, minus a couple of long runs last week by Southeastern, has done a nice job against the run game.
“We struggled with some blocking assignments, at times, tonight when we were subbing and that led to a couple of fumbles we lost. We need everyone, including the few subs we do have, to be ready to come in, take care of the football and execute.”
The Pioneers (1-4, 1-1) travel to Unioto (3-2, 1-1) next week, while the Mustangs (3-2, 1-1) host Adena (4-1, 1-1) for homecoming.
“It was nice to bounce back from the loss against Southeastern last week, but I’ll be watching film later tonight because there were a lot of things we can still improve on,” Smith said. “That’s been a key to our success, getting better every week and we need to continue and do that, especially with a pretty good team like Adena coming in next week.”