VALE—West Lincoln’s recent success in football has allowed the program to exorcise some long-standing demons.
In 2019, the Rebels won the first playoff game in school history. In fact, they advanced to the third round of the playoffs that year. The same season, West ended a long victory draught against Bandys.
Another dubious streak fell Friday night at Douglas C. Leonhardt Memorial Stadium, again involving Bandys.
The Rebels beat the Trojans 27-7 on homecoming night for their first home win over that program since 1992.
With three straight wins after an 0-2 start, West Lincoln (3-2) controls its own destiny for the playoffs. If the Rebels beat East Lincoln this week at home, they will clinch the South Fork 2A Conference’s second playoff spot.
Friday’s game, played before a substantial homecoming crowd given the current reality, was a dogfight for three quarters. However, West Lincoln owned the fourth quarter, scoring twice on methodical drives to pull away.
West Lincoln seemed to gain control of the line of scrimmage as the contest wore on. The early running plays of 2 to 4 yards were going for 6 and 8 yards in the final 12 minutes.
Quarterback Mason Huitt accounted for two of the Rebels’ four scores on keeper runs of eight and 22 yards. The second touchdown burst broke a 7-7 tie with 13 seconds left in the third period.
West Lincoln’s rushing yards were evenly divided among four players, with fullback Grayson Barkley leading the way with 56 yards on 15 totes. Huitt ran for 54 yards and added 57 yards through the air on four completions in eight attempts.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, one of Huitt’s throws was intercepted deep in Rebel territory, and Bandys cashed in the turnover for its lone touchdown.
After that second quarter miscue, however, Huitt and the West offense played error-free football.
Collectively, the West Lincoln defense was a bright spot in the game. The Rebels forced five Bandys punts, intercepted two of quarterback Trey Shearer’s passes, and made a successful stand late in the first half, forcing Bandys to turn the ball over on downs at the West Lincoln 7-yard line.
Ricky Reynolds picked off the first Bandys pass attempt of the game, and Huitt had a fourth quarter pick and nice runback to thwart a scoring threat.
But it was still a one-possession game until Mason Avery ran 15 yards to the end zone early in the fourth, making the score 20-7.
The final Rebel score came with 5:12 remaining on a 22-yard run by Hunter Leonhardt. Huitt completed a 15-yard pass to Avery to highlight that 52-yard march.
Bandys got its touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Shearer to Parker Dehart midway through the second period.
During the halftime ceremonies and the presentation of the court, senior Alexzia Hallman was named 2020-20 21 homecoming queen.
Bandys 0 7 0 0 - 7
West Lincoln 0 7 7 13 - 27
(Published March 29, 2021)