Friday’s contest against archrival Walled Lake Central was a “must-win” football game for Walled Lake Western. The Warriors scored early and often, jumping out to a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and a 28-3 halftime lead. Western scored first after Sam Johnson found Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen for a 33-yard touchdown strike. The benefited from a short field after a failed fake punt for the Vikings on their own 40-yard line.
Western added to the lead after Caleb Wimberly blocked a Viking punt at the Central 35-yard line. Johnson would later score from five yards out on a quarterback keeper to put the Warriors up 14-0. Malcomb Baker intercepted a Viking pass near midfield which set up an 11-yard run by Justin Gabriel and a Warrior 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Western’s defensive front came up big on Central’s next possession on a fourth and two play at the Warriors’ 44-yard line. The Warrior’s Chris Harris tackled Central’s Jake Perry in the backfield and the Warriors took over on downs. Four plays later, senior Dawson Cofield scored from 12 yards out to put the Warriors up 28-0.
Central got on the board with less than a minute in the half when Noah Elliot booted a 41-yard field goal. After a failed onside kick, Western took over at midfield with 52 seconds in the half. The Warriors took advantage of the short field and CJ Brown found pay dirt from eight yards out and Western led 35-3 at the break.
After a successful onside kick, Central struck first in the second half when quarterback Bobby Bourke threw a 28-yard touchdown strike to Justin Blackburn to make the score 35-10. Western answered the Central score on the next possession as Malcomb Baker found the edge and sprinted 34-yards down the sideline and the Warriors led 42-10 after an Aidan Jennings extra point (6-for-6 on PATs).
The Vikings used a gadget play on its next drive as halfback Jake Perry found Blackburn (3 catches, 108 yards, 2 TDs) for a 64-yard touchdown strike. Central opted to go for two on the point after, but were denied by the Warriors’ defensive front. Western held a 42-16 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Western would go on to win 48-16 after a late Warrior touchdown. With the victory, the Warriors clinched a playoff berth for the ninth consecutive season. Western has now won nine straight games in the rivalry and is 33-19 in the historical series. The Warriors are 6-3 on the season and will play in the first round of the MHSAA playoffs on Friday night.