Above, the Rebels swarmed the Mustangs running game for four quarters. The Mustangs finished with 50 yards rushing.
Right, West running back Will Tallent eyes an East defender as he closes in. A sprained ankle sidelined him in the third quarter.
Joseph Brymer / LTN Photo
The West Lincoln Rebels not only won their rivalry game against the East Lincoln Mustangs. They did it in dominating fashion, winning 25-0.
East Lincoln opened the game, displaying a new quarterback in Grayson Shram. Behind Shram and Sykes they were able to move the football in five plays down to the Rebelsâ€™ 28-yard line before they fumbling with West recovering.
The play proved to be ominous for the Mustangs even though they were forced the Rebels to punt on their first possession.
West Lincoln scored first with 32 seconds in the first quarter on a 9-yard run by fullback Paul Chambers. Daniel Scronce kicked the point after.
The Rebels threatened to score again on their last possession of the first half. Sophomore quarterback Taylor Woodie connected with Dustin Hester down the left sideline for 33-yards.
After an 8-yard screen to Chambers, West called their final timeout. On fourth down inside the 20-yard line Clay Martin stopped Will Tallent to thwart any scoring hopes and end the half.
West earned six first downs in the first stanza, while the Mustangs were able to gain only three.
The Rebels second half opening drive was â€œthe world according to Arp.â€
Gene Arp, a Rebelsâ€™ back-up tailback recorded 18 yards in his first three carries of the half. He culminated a nine-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown to put West ahead 13-0. Martin blocked the extra point.
The Rebels ate up the final six minutes of the third quarter. The ball control offense was aided by a 44-yard gain by Arp in which he broke several tackles and displayed excellent speed.
East Lincolnâ€™s possession was ended when Spencer Sutton sacked Shram.
Up 19-0, Woodie found the athletic Ben Poole on a 19-yard fade route for a touchdown.
When Heath Cole intercepted a pass and returned it 35-yards the Rebelsâ€™ faithful exploded into celebration.
West Lincoln finished the night with 14 first downs, while a stubborn Rebelsâ€™ defense held the Mustangs to five first downs.
Star running back Ryan Sykes never could get on track gaining only 33 yards on nine carries. Tavarus Freedom had 15 yard on two carries. Schram was 2-for-5 passing for 25 yards and an interception. Thomas Huntley made both catches for East.
Arp was the player of the game rushing for 104 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. Tallent contributed with 48 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game in the third quarter due to a sprained ankle.
Woodie was 5-for-10 passing for 64 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
Shram made one interception on defense returning it for 10 yards. Matt Warren and Daniel Soto each made bone-jarring hits that are hit of the year nominees.
â€œItâ€™s the first time Iâ€™ve ever had 100 yards in a game. I just ran as hard as I could, just found the crease and went to it. My offensive line was awesome. I didnâ€™t do anything but run the ball they did all the blocking,â€ Arp said.
Parker amidst the celebration believed Arp and the stellar defensive effort was the difference-maker.
â€œI told my kids earlier in the week that if we could get them to throw the ball we could turn the game in our favor. Coach Beam and Coach Navey brought nine people in the box and dared them to run it,â€ he said.
Although, Arp replaced Tallent at tailback it was not due to injury. The coach said he would have gotten carries even if Tallent was still in the game.
â€œI have all the confidence in the world in Gene Arp at tailback. I have to get it in his hands. Iâ€™m happy for Gene but Iâ€™m also happy for our offensive line,â€ Parker said.
Jon Thomas, who stood out at linebacker for Rebels along with Antonio Rojo and Soto, said he couldnâ€™t wait for Saturday.
â€œWaking up Saturday morning and talking to the community last year it was rough. Tomorrow morning Iâ€™m going to get up early and walk around,â€ he said.
â€œI liked it, it was a good win, the blockers did real good man. I want to congratulate Daniel Soto who did real good blocking on that fullback trap,â€ Chambers said of the win.
Defensive coordinator Wayne Navey was very pleased with his team pitching the shutout.
â€œI thought the whole defense played great. Our D-line played good, our linebackers played good and our secondary played excellent. It was a total team effort,â€ Navey said.
Mustangsâ€™ head coach Matt Rikard tipped his hat to the Rebelsâ€™ defensive effort.
â€œThey had nine men in the box and even when we took our shots downfield, we just didnâ€™t complete them. We didnâ€™t play very good upfront and they played very well on defense,â€ he said.
by John Mark Brooks