Friday, December 2, 2011
Northern: No. 1 Westlake 62, Thousand Oaks 0
By Sean Ceglinsky
WESTLAKE VILLAGE -- This one was over before things started.
Justin Moore made sure of it. He left no doubt about the outcome.
The junior quarterback from Westlake did all of his damage in the first half of Friday's 62-0 victory over visiting Thousand Oaks in a Southern Section semifinal playoff game. Moore completed 7-of-10 of his passes for 98 yards and pair of touchdowns to go along with 53 yards rushing on five carries to help the Warriors advance to the Northern Division title game.
“This was a statement game for us. We're for real,'' Moore said.
Indeed the Warriors (13-0) are for real. And then some. They moved up to the top spot, No.1 overall in the ESPNLosAngeles.com top 25 rankings this week and looked every bit the part. The Lancers (8-5) were over-matched from the opening kickoff until the final whistle.
“Are we surprised we won? No, I don't think so,'' Warriors coach Jim Benkert said. “Our kids came into the game focused. We knew what we had to do out on the field.''
The same could not be said about Thousand Oaks, which trailed 45-0 at the half. Things got so bad in the second half, the officials decided to use a running clock. The Warriors, in fact, pulled their starters in the third quarter and let them watch on the bench in the second half.
“This is our house, we weren't going to let Thousand Oaks come in here and think things were going to be easy,'' said the Warriors Dashon Hunt, also a junior and UCLA commit.
Apparently, a two-touchdown lead after the opening 12 minutes, was not enough. The Warriors rattled off four more scores and a field goal before halftime.
Hunt fielded a punt near midfield, found space up the middle and took off 42 yards for a touchdown to get things started. Not to be oudone, Johnny Stuart batted a ball at the line of scrimmage, to himself no less, and returned the interception 28 yards for a score.
Moore scored on 8-yard run and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jake Rothschiller to give Westlake a 42-0 lead with 3:12 left in the first half. Alex Ball booted a 50-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare to extend advantage to 45-0 at the intermission.
“Things clicked tonight for us, there was nothing Thousand Oaks could do about it,'' Moore said. “We knew what had to be done and no one was going to stop us.''
Moore, of course, was largely responsible for setting up the first score of the game. After scrambling for a pair of first downs, he threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Cody Tuttle to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 6:00 remaining in the first quarter of play.
Bradley Wellman was seemingly all over the field for Westlake early on. The senior recovered a fumble on the Lancers opening possession. He added an interception return for a touchdown, a 22-yarder, as the Warriors led 14-0 with 1:20 left in the first quarter.
Hunt finished with 75 yards rushing on eight carries.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.