WATERFORD >> In a game that was all but certain to shape the Lakes Valley Conference standings at season’s end, Walled Lake Western went on the road Friday and stomped all over previously unbeaten Waterford Mott, 52-13.
To begin the third quarter, the Warriors expanded their modest 10-point halftime lead into an insurmountable one by recording three straight touchdowns in less than seven minutes.
“We made the game plan simple and let our kids play fast. Typically, we stay out of the papers, but everybody picked against us this week,” Western’s first-year coach Alex Grignon said. “We wanted to remind everybody what Walled Lake Western was all about … Hopefully we got the ball rolling. We had a lot to prove coming out here.”
Western (3-1) excelled in all three phases of the game with no star shining brighter than junior C.J. Brown, whose four-touchdown performance included two scores on offense, one on defense, and a special teams touchdown to boot.
Brown made the most consequential play of the game early in the second quarter when he intercepted a Mott pass at the goal line and raced 99 yards the opposite direction to put Western up 17-0. Marking a potential 14-point swing with the Corsairs threatening for points, Brown recognized the play call and jumped the route to make the big play.
“I feel like the pick-six was nice and really set the advantage for our team,” Brown said. “It brought momentum to our offense and helped push us over the edge because we knew it was going to be a hard game.”
In the third quarter, Brown recorded touchdown runs of 26 and 2 yards on consecutive drives. He capped off his breakout performance by recovering an onside kick in the closing minutes and finding daylight for a 53-yard return touchdown.
“C.J. just started playing offense the other week,” Grignon said. “He’s a phenomenal player, a great safety, and just a junior. He’s got a lot of offers and attention coming in. He just loves football.”
Western junior Abdur Rahmaan-Yaseen also turned in a highlight reel night with a 16-yard touchdown grab that opened the scoring, as well as two second-half interceptions that set up Warriors touchdowns.
“We basically had two defenses we played the entire day and we broke down a lot of film. A lot of hours went into this,” Grignon said. “We took away the back shoulder (throws) and the bubbles, forced (the Mott quarterback) to try and beat us. It worked out pretty well.”
Western quarterback Sam Johnson finished 9-of-13 passing for 179 yards, picking up a touchdown apiece through the air and with his feet. Rahmaan-Yaseen recorded five catches for 124 yards.
A year ago, Mott and Western each finished 7-1 atop the Lakes Valley Conference standings, with the Corsairs having won the head-to-head matchup, 47-37.
Forced to play catch-up the entire night, Mott turned the ball over on downs several times, managing just one touchdown in each half. Sophomore Quillen Howze had a 60-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Matt Castillo that briefly pulled the Corsairs into the game, down 17-7. Senior Kobe Myers added a fourth-quarter touchdown catch for Mott, which dropped to 3-1 overall.
Looking ahead, each team has an important rivalry game next week with Western hosting Walled Lake Northern on Friday and Mott welcoming Waterford Kettering on Saturday.