Walled Lake Western senior Spencer Brown. (Photo by Teresa Presty.)
After dropping its season opener to Catholic Central last week, Walled Lake Western welcomed Milford to Dick Watson Field for a Lakes Valley Conference match-up.
The game was also Alex Grignon’s first career home game as the Warriors’ head coach. Grignon took over the storied Warrior program in June.
Western scored early and often. The Warriors jumped out to a 7-0 lead after Boston College commit Sam Johnson’s 20-yard touchdown run. Johnson later found Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown strike to give Western a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Warriors exploded for 21 points in the second quarter after an interception by CJ Brown. The junior safety returned the pick to the Milford 47 yard line. On the ensuing possession, Johnson hit KJ Jackson on a screen, and the senior tailback scampered 24 yards down the middle of the field to the Milford 15 yard line. Johnson again hooked up with Yaseen for a 15-yard score with 6:12 left in the half.
Grignon was pleased with the way the Warriors were able to move the ball throughout the night. “Getting the run game going was vital. Getting the line to click and control the temp will be very important for us to continue throughout the season,” he said.
Western’s defense was in the Milford backfield most of the night. After a Milford fumble, junior Sam Ahern scooped up the pigskin and returned it 43 yards down the sideline to give the Warriors a 28-0 lead. The Warriors’ defense came up big again with less than two minutes in the half when Khalil Brown recovered a fumble at the Milford 16 yard line, setting up a Johnson 16-yard touchdown pass to senior Malcomb Baker.
Western took a 35-0 lead into the locker room at the break.
In the second half, with a running clock, Milford had the ball for the entire third quarter. Two minutes into the final stanza, the Mavericks were at the Warriors’ 27 yard line on fourth down with seven yards to go. Not to be outdone by his younger brother, Spencer Brown picked off a pass over the middle and rumbled and dragged Maverick defenders with him as he returned the ball to the Western 43 yard line.
The Michigan State commit was pleased at how the Warriors rebounded after the week one loss. “This game was to build our confidence and I think we did that. We played as a team tonight and everyone followed through with their assignments. We played better tonight and played as a family,” Spencer said.
When asked about Brown’s fourth down interception return, Grignon said, “Spencer is an incredible athlete. I am just glad that he hung on to the football.”
After picking up his first victory as a head coach, Grignon said, “It’s always nice to win, but tonight we had too many mistakes and have a lot to improve on. Our main focus is to improve every day and focus on the little things.”
Offensively for Western, Johnson, a 2018 Mr. Football candidate, threw for 109 yards (7-12) and three scores on the night, and ran for another. Baker rushed for 50 yards, and Yaseen had four catches for 42 yards.
Milford seniors Chance Murray and Carson Jensen both recorded interceptions on the night. With the victory, Western is 1-1 (1-0, LVC) on the season. Milford falls to 0-2 (0-2, LVC.)