By RYAN HERMAN
VALE –– Dylan West broke out in the second half, but not before West Lincoln had already broken it open.
The West Caldwell quarterback went off in the last two quarters, but his performance wasn’t as electrifying as the 318-yard, four-touchdown night of Rebels signal caller Miguel Corella as West Lincoln rolled to a 49-19 win over the Warriors on Friday night.
Corella rushed for 234 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 84 yards and a score while converting just 3 of 4 attempts. Charles Mack George ran for 142 yards and two scores filling in for the injured Daniel Davila. Davila, the Rebels’ leading rusher prior to Friday, aggravated a right-ankle injury on his first carry –– their first play from scrimmage –– and didn’t return.
West Lincoln (7-1, 3-1 Southern District 7 Athletic 2A) showed how deep its league-leading rushing attack is. Behind Corella, George and Daniel Schesny, it scored five unanswered TDs and put the homecoming game away before West found his rhythm.
“I’m proud of our kids,” said West Lincoln coach Tom Sain, who added that Davila was kept out for precautionary reasons. “Our leaders stepped up big and so did our backups. Mack had a good, solid night, and did well after having to change positions.”
West unloaded his arm in the final 24 minutes, throwing for 260 yards and a pair of scores. He completed 22 of 36 passes –– all but five completions coming in the last two quarters –– but by the time the junior got into a groove the Warriors (1-7, 0-4) trailed 35-0.
Corella scored on runs of 29, 71 and 80 yards, and added a 30-yard shovel pass to Schesny on a play that appeared to be designed as an option pitch.
Schesny made it 35-0 20 seconds into the second half on an 89-yard kickoff return.
West Lincoln, the league’s top rushing offense, had 401 yards on the ground to eclipse the 400-yard mark for the second week and the third time this season. Its defense, also tops in the league, held the Warriors to 58 yards rushing and forced three turnovers.
But West Caldwell’s no-huddle offense complicated things in the second half.
Not wasting any time, West connected on his first seven passes of the third quarter, and hit Elijah Battle from 23 yards out for West Caldwell’s first score to make it 35-7 9:10 before the fourth.
It barely made a dent in West Lincoln’s lead.
West went on to attempt 30 passes in the half, completing 18. He connected with Titus Tucker for an 85-yard TD in the third quarter that made it 49-13.
Haden Hagaman ran for a 4-yard score with 7:10 to play that led to the final score.
“We’ve got a real smart quarterback in Dylan West, and we have a system where we let him read the coverage and call the plays and he just did a great job in the second half,” said acting Warriors head coach Mike Frederick, who was filling in for head coach Kyle Dunn who sat out due to last week’s ejection.
“We trust him and let him do it and it paid off. We didn’t get enough points, but it paid off.”
Although West had just 67 yards and five completions at the half, Sain knew he could break out at any time.
“We had a few more mistakes that we made against a good team. We knew their quarterback was the man, and he did a good job,” Sain said. “I thought our secondary played well, but in that no-huddle offense you’ve got to stay prepared. That puts a lot of pressure on the defense when you go no-huddle.”
Pressure is something West Lincoln’s offense never felt.
The Rebels ran just 39 plays, and averaged 12.4 yards each one. Their first scoring drive took less than two minutes and four plays, and they had three possessions that totaled three plays or fewer before a TD.
West Lincoln had only three drives where it came up empty. The Rebels punted once, didn’t attempt to score as the half wound down and had one drive end in a turnover on downs.
In its three-game win streak, West Lincoln has played all four quarters, something it learned it had to do the hard way in its lone loss against Lincolnton.
“There was a chance for us in the Lincolnton game to learn that we’ve got to play all four quarters. You can’t come out and not play in the first quarter, second quarter against Lincolnton,” Sain said.
Still tied for third in the SD-7 with the Wolves, who defeated Bunker Hill 35-23, the Rebels head to Maiden this week, where the undefeated Blue Devils (8-0, 4-0) sport the league’s best passing attack.
The pass gave West Lincoln some trouble last week.
“We’re going to see more of that,” Sain said, “so that’s something that we need to work on and get better at.”