Westside hangs on to shovel
by John Conley
Westside kept the coal shovel. Justin Cogar did a lot of the digging.
The sophomore quarterback ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead the Renegades over Wyoming East, 22-20, in the annual Battle for the Coal Shovel at Clear Fork on Friday night.
WHS was hurt by turnovers in a one-point loss to Liberty in the opening game of the season last week. This time around, the Renegades tried to make sure that didn’t happen.
“The coaches worked us hard in practice,” Cogar said. “We worked on using two hands when we had the ball and on timing our passes so they wouldn’t be intercepted.”
Westside didn’t have a turnover in the game. It was a night of momentum shifts as East grabbed the early lead, Westside controlled the middle quarters and the Warriors staged a fourth quarter comeback.
The outcome wasn’t determined until East’s fourth and long pass attempt came up empty with :28.6 to play.
Cogar ran the ball on eight of Westside’s first ten snaps in the second half, all for positive yardage, as the Renegades held on to a 14-6 lead.
“We did what we do best, play smashmouth football,” said Cogar.
The ground game set up Cogar’s 65-yard TD toss to Hunter Walker with 1:20 to go in the third period.
“Hunter got behind the defense and I just tried to get the ball into his hands,” Cogar noted. The same combination hooked up on the two-point conversion, and those points proved to be crucial later.
The Warriors (1-1) drove inside the Renegades 10 early in the fourth, mainly behind the running of Jacob Summe. But a fumble at the six was recovered by WHS.
Westside was forced to punt from deep in its won territory, and East started the next drive at the Renegades 38.
WEHS signal caller Aaron Griffith broke to his left and went 38 yards for the score with 8:27 to play, making it 22-12. The conversion try failed.
Griffith picked up yardage on fourth and four to keep the Warriors next drive alive with less than four minutes to go.
Summe and Chris Cecil ran for good yardage, and a facemask penalty moved the ball to the 15.
Three plays later, Summe ran for seven yards for a touchdown. Griffith passed to Hedinger for the extra points, and it was 22-20 with 1:22 to go.
Westside punted after narrowly missing on a long pass play, and WEHS got the ball back with 57 ticks left.
All four pass attempts were incomplete, and the Renegades claimed the shovel for the fifth straight year.
East grabbed the early lead when Summe ran the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a score. The PAT kick was off target, leaving the Warriors with a 6-0 lead.
Corey Bowles intercepted a pass ran it back to the East nine late with 2:08 on the first quarter clock.
Matt Harless picked up four yards. Cogar took it in from five yards out on the next play.
“I just saw an open hole and took it in, and I got really good blocking on that play,” said Cogar.
Cogar ran it in for two to put WHS in front, 8-6.
On the first play of the Renegades’ next series, Cogar went 76 yards to pay dirt.
“Our receivers did a great job of blocking,” he commented.
The East offense, which managed just four first downs in the opening half, didn’t threaten again until it took possession at the Westside 42 late in the second period.
Runs by Summe and Griffith’s eight-yard pass to Hedinger moved the ball to the 16.
The drive stalled, and Cecil’s field goal try was blocked the Renegades.
Cogar ran for 163 yards on 19 tries and was 6-9 passing for 108 yards.
Harless added 39 yards on 10 attempts.
Summe had 108 yards on 21 carries for East and scored a pair of TDs. Griffith and Cecil each ran for 57 yards on eight attempts.
Westside visits Man this Friday. Wyoming East travels to Sherman.
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