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WL Western flexes its offensive muscle in blowout of Fenton to win regional title 61-21

By By DAN FENNER @DanFenner, 11/12/16, 10:30PM EST


The Warriors advanced to face Lowell in the Division 2 semifinals

 It was off to the races quickly for Walled Lake Western Saturday, as the Warriors operated at a peak offensive level against visiting Fenton in a Division 2 regional final.

Western scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions, while at the same time holding a team that entered averaging 43.5 points per game to just six points through three quarters. The Warriors ultimately prevailed 61-21 to advance to next Saturday’s semifinal against Lowell.

“That’s about as good as we’ve looked all year. We were sharp and I think we really got things going in the second half last week and it just kept rolling today,” Western coach Mike Zdebski said. “It’s a good time to be rolling.”

The scoring commenced on a 7-yard touchdown connection between Western’s senior quarterback Johnny Tracy and junior wideout Justin Thomas midway through the first quarter.

Fenton responded with a 44-yard touchdown run by quarterback Josh Czarnota, but the extra point was missed, leaving Western in front, 7-6. The Warriors (11-1) proceeded to score 41 more points uninterrupted to build a commanding 48-6 halftime advantage.

“In the playoffs, we had had some slow starts, but this week, we got out quickly,” Tracy said. “We’ve put in some new looks this week to do our best against this Fenton defense. Our line played great all game and gave me the time to find open receivers. Our running backs made plays too.”

The Warriors’ bevy of offensive playmakers allowed Tracy to spread to ball from sideline to sideline, with gashing runs up the middle mixed in.

Senior running back Jalen Marshall plunged over the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown run, followed by a second scoring grab by Thomas from 42 yards away on the last play of the first quarter, making it 21-6.

Senior Kam Ford got in on the scoring action next by catching a short pass in the flat and turning upfield for a 43-yard touchdown.

Western’s only first-half possession that did not result in a touchdown came when it fumbled in the red zone, but the Warriors’ Ben Reilly intercepted a Fenton pass moments later, setting up a 40-yard touchdown run by senior Cody White.

Jamon Benson tacked on one more touchdown run with 21 seconds until intermission.

“Our offensive line today, they kicked some tail,” Zdebski said. “We were able to run the ball extensively. Our quarterback is one of the best in the state, if not the best.”

The Tigers (9-3) received a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns from Alex Marshall and Dylan Crankshaw, but Fenton was unable to beat the Western defense when the game may still have been within reach.

“We put (Fenton) in a tough position with the score and what they could do offensively. They couldn’t run their normal gameplan,” Zdebski said.

Up next, Western faces a rematch with Lowell (12-0) in next Saturday’s state semifinal. The Warriors lost a shootout, 49-34, in the midst of a blizzard against the Red Arrows at the same stage of the postseason a year ago.

“They’re tough. They’re well coached and always find a way to win,” Zdebski said of Lowell. “We’re going to have good weather, which is a plus, and we’ll go from there.”

Read more @ MI Prep Zone

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