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WL Western wins back-and-forth tilt in PKC opener

By Vito Chirco, Special to, 08/25/17, 11:45AM EDT


The 2017 Xenith Prep Kickoff Classic kicked off with a matchup of state title contenders in Walled Lake Western and West Bloomfield.

In a game that went down to the wire, Walled Lake Western came out on top, 19-14.

The Warriors and Lakers both started off slowly offensively with one touchdown apiece in the first half.

And their quarterbacks, senior Bryce Veasley for West Bloomfield and junior Sam Johnson for Walled Lake Western, spearheaded the teams' respective scoring drives.

Veasley accounted for the game's only score in the first quarter, with a keeper from four yards out. He had 19 rushing yards, and was 6-of-11 for 90 yards at the end of the first half.

Johnson passed for 30 yards and ran for another 11 in leading the Warriors to their first-half score.

He finished the half with 58 yards on 7-of-10 passing.

Johnson and the Warriors started off the second half with a bang.

Johnson connected with junior wideout Kevin Jackson for 50 yards. It set up a 25-yard field goal from junior Aidan Jennings, which gave the Warriors a 10-7 lead with 9:32 to play in the third quarter.

Jennings tacked on another three, with a 32-yard FG with 6:24 to play in the third.

The Lakers answered right back. And again spearheading the attack was none other than Veasley.

The Bowling Green State commit, using his impressive 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame, bulldozed his way to 60 yards on the ground, including a 3-yard score. It gave the Lakers their first lead of the game.

It wouldn't last, though.

Johnson connected with Jackson on another big pass play, this time of the 30-yard variety and with 5:27 in the fourth quarter.
For the majority of the rest of the drive, the Warriors carried the rock, wiping a lot of vital time away from the clock.   
It led to Johnson punching it in for the game-winning score from two yards out with 2:15 to play.

Western head man Mike Zdebski labeled the win as "one of the best (season)-opening wins we've had."

Johnson finished 17-of-31 for 236 yards through the air, while Veasley finished 17-of-36 for 208 passing yards.
As a result of their standout days, Johnson and Veasley were their respective teams' recipients of the Legacy Football Most Outstanding Player award.    
Quick Facts
-The Warriors are now 2-0 all-time in the head-to-head series with West Bloomfield.
-With the win, Western is 1-0 all-time in the Prep Kickoff Classic.
-West Bloomfield is now 1-1 all-time in the PKC.