Big plays, stout defense powers West to win over Reitz Memorial

Special to the News-DemocratAugust 31, 2013 

— Belleville West's run defense stuffed Reitz Memorial throughout and the offense made enough big plays to leave Romain Stadium with a 31-10 victory Friday night.

The Maroons fell behind 3-0 in their season opener, but roared back to score 31 straight points, all on plays of 48 or more yards.

"The defense really did a good job tonight," said West coach Cameron Pettus. "They flew to the football, tackled and just showed up strong.

"Memorial is a good team with a great coaching staff that did a nice job defensively for the most part, but we had some guys make some plays and that was the difference. I was especially proud of our quarterback, Sherand Boyd. He did a nice job."

Boyd, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior, was 9-for-19 passing for 165 yards and two touchdowns and ran 60 yards for another score when the Maroons were trying to run out the clock late leading 24-3.

"Last year we were pretty much a running team," said Boyd, who finish with 74 yards rushing on nine carries. "But this year we're trying to open it up more with the passing game and it showed tonight.

"It also helped that we'd played them in the past. They pretty much did what we'd seen on film and that helped us, too."

Memorial took advantage of the Maroons' only real mistake of the first half when a high snap on fourth down resulted in a 7-yard loss by punter Austin Seibert, who otherwise averaged 43 yards on four punts before intermission.

The Tigers (0-2) advanced the ball just 3 yards to the West 32, which led to a 49-yard field goal by senior Sam Stratman for a 3-0 Memorial lead halfway through the first quarter.

But after the teams traded two punts apiece, the Maroons' superior speed on both sides of the ball began to exact a toll.

After making two first downs in three plays and wasting a pass, West got a 50-yard touchdown run from Brian Hill on a blast over right guard.

Then, after forcing the fourth of Memorial's five punts over the course of the first half, the Maroons ripped off 87 yards in four plays, most of it coming on Boyd passes of 33 and 48 yards to Brendan Saak, the second for a touchdown.

"The offensive line, especially Josh Long, did a really nice job tonight," said Boyd, who finished the first half with 101 yards of total offense. "Then Brian Hill, Antoine Davis and Brendan Saak all made big plays, too. It was a really nice effort by everybody."

Memorial was able to throw the ball for a high percentage as junior Jordan Scheessele hit 21 of 29 passes for 182 yards.

But the only time the Maroons didn't tackle the Tigers for minimal gains was with eight seconds to play when Jacob Wininger scored from 48 yards out, their longest play of the game.

"That's a big time defense," said Memorial coach John Hurley. "We're not going to see too many teams around here with any more athletes on that side of the ball than them.

"That's a special group with speed and size and they play all their best guys on defense. It showed tonight."

The Maroons held the Tigers to just 16 yards rushing in 29 attempts and countered with 177 yards on the ground of their own.

"You never know what you're going to get until you play," said Pettus. "It was a good night, but we've got some things we still need to work on, too."

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