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Cats turn up the heat to win

Westview rallies from a 14-3 deficit to win 32-27 over Lincoln


ROCK CREEK — It ain’t about how you start, but how you finish.

Westview’s football team proved that big-time on Friday night, rallying from a 14-3 deficit and cranking out a 29-7 scoring edge en route to its 32-21 non-league win at Westview High School. The win lifted the Wildcats’ 2012 record to 2-1, while the Cardinals fell to 0-3.

by: MILES VANCE - INTO THE OPEN - Westview senior quarterback Julius Rucker eludes Lincoln tacklers for some of his 118 rushing yards in the Wildcats 32-21 non-league home win over the Cardinals.

“Our defense wasn’t getting stops the first half, but when we went into the locker room, we fixed the mistakes we were making in the first half and it turned out differently in the second,” said senior running back Xavier Williams, who finished with 160 yards in total offense and scored his team’s last touchdown on a one-yard run with 2 minutes, 16 seconds left in the game. “We weren’t going to lose at home today.”

“We capitalized on mistakes and got the ‘W’ so that was good,” said senior quarterback Julius Rucker, who rushed 16 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns. “We just came out harder than how we started.”

“We had a rough start but we kept our heads and got back into it,” said senior linebacker Mitch Kekel, who scooped up a blocked punt late in the third quarter and took it back 31 yards to score. “It was a good feeling. The fans were going crazy and we just came out to play.”

Lincoln made it tough, though, getting a 45-yard John Williams-to-Jaray Kindell completion on its first play and marching 80 yards on its first possession to grab a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game when Williams connected with Adam Eakin over the middle for a 16-yard score.

Westview answered with a 41-yard Matt Gorman field goal on its second possession, but the Cardinals scored again on a one-yard Williams sneak to make it 14-3 late in the opening period. Williams went 6-for-7 on that drive for 74 yards.

But the Wildcats put together a dynamite second quarter, scoring three times and closing within 21-19 at the half. Rucker got the first of those when he scored on a nine-yard run, a play set up by a 40-yard Rucker-to-Williams completion.

The Cardinals came back with a nine-yard Williams-to-Sam Laverde touchdown pass to pull ahead 21-9 with 8:23 to go in the period, but the Cats closed the half with a flourish. First, Rucker broke off a 46-yard scoring run, and then, after stopping Lincoln’s next series on five plays, Gorman hit a 21-yard field goal to cut the deficit to two points at the half.

Westview misfired on its first series of the third quarter, but it mattered not. Westview’s defense forced a punt after just one Lincoln first down on the ensuing series, and senior Dylan Savage broke through to block Torben Jorgensen’s punt from the 22-yard line. Kekel scooped up the loose ball in the right flat and took it back 31 yards untouched to give his team its first lead at 25-21.

“I was just blocking outside and I heard the punt get blocked and turned my head and there it was,” Kekel said. “I just ran and grabbed it and scored.”

The Wildcat “D” did its part in the second half, stopping the Cardinals on each of their first three possessions, the last of those stops giving Westview possession at its own 17 with 9:07 left in the game.

From there, Westview sealed its victory with an 83-yard jackhammer of a drive that encompassed 15 plays, ran 6:53 off the clock, and ended on Williams’ one-yard run up the middle. Williams carried eight times for 39 yards on the drive and also caught a pass for another 10 yards.

The offensive line keyed that drive, led by Savage, Luke Henderson, Chris Loveless, Tyrin Wedlow, Matt Dunaway and tight end Teagan Lind.

“I just got the ball and kept my legs pushing. I was trying to get first downs because we needed it,” Williams said. “We needed one more score to win the game and we got it.”

“My line did a great job and the receivers did a good job blocking on the edge,” Rucker said. “We just pounded, pounded and changed our scheme a little bit. I got them to key on me and it opened up holes for our running backs.”

Lincoln’s last score came when Johnson hit Nick Fernandes for a 17-yard score with 13 seconds left in the game, but it was far too little and far too late.

For the game, Williams carried 20 times for 89 yards, and Rucker went 11-of-25 passing for 152 yards, including five to Williams for 71 yards.

The Wildcats “D” held Lincoln to minus-27 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Williams hit on 26-of-44 passes for 332 yards, five of those to Kindell for 114 yards.

Next week, Westview hosts Gresham at 7:30 p.m.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to milesvance.exposuremanager.com.