West Ouachita used an opportunistic defense and ground and pound running game to defeat Vidalia 45-12 Friday in Vidalia.
The Chiefs improved to 3-0 with the win.
“Our defense played great,” said West Ouachita coach Matt Middleton. “And I was very proud of our offensive line. We try and keep the game close in the first half and then wear people out in the second half.”
Vidalia High head football coach Rob Faircloth did not have to look far to find a reason for his team's downfall in the contest.
"We had seven turnovers going into the fourth quarter," Faircloth said. "The score was 24-12 at that time. It was still a game. We ended up with eight turnovers and had 100 yards in penalties."
West Ouachita scored on its first possession as Chief quarterback Brendon Crawford threw a short middle screen to Tobias Owens who turned the play into a 67-yard touchdown play.
Luke Stagg added the first of seven point-after kicks.
“That was huge,” Middleton said of the middle screen. “They were applying pressure from the outside and we were able to break it.”
Owens finished with 135 yards on 17 carries, most coming in the second half.
“We just came out and executed,” Owens said. “Our defense really came up big.”
On Vidalia’s first possession, West Ouachita linebacker Dawson Hagan picked off the first of three interceptions on the night at the Viking 21-yard line.
It was the first three-interception game of the senior’s career.
“I was just going with the flow,” Hagan said. “We watched the film and knew a lot of the routes they would run. After my first interception someone landed on my ankle and I had to come out for a while. After my third one I was wanting more.”
Hagan’s second interception came late in the first quarter, but for the second time the Chief’s were unable to take advantage.
The Vikings got on the board early In the second quarter as Vidalia quarterback Cam’Ron Randall scored on a 1-yard run.
The two-point conversion failed.
Randall finished with 100 yards on 16 carries despite battling cramps throughout the game.
Devin Green had 63 yards on nine carries.
West Ouachita’s next drive ended at the Viking 17-yard line where Stagg connected on a 34-yard field goal with 7:45 remaining in the second quarter.
On Vidalia’s next possession, Randall was punting from his own 23-yard line when a low snap forced him to run left, avoid a tackler and get off a punt to the Viking 37-yard line.
Alfred Cole finished off the seven-play drive by bulling into the end zone from nine yards out.
Cole finished with 110 yards on 12 carries.
Cole Moore picked of a Vidalia pass near midfield on the Vikings’ next drive.
The Chiefs drove to the Viking 29 before time ran out in the first half.
Vidalia came out strong in the second half after Dylan Boxley returned the second half kickoff 35 yards with a 15-yard penalty added on to give Vidalia possession at the West Ouachita 33.
West Ouachita finished with 18 penalties for 157 yards.
“We had way too many penalties,” Middleton said. “We were very undisciplined.”
Six carries by Randall moved the ball to the 2-yard line where Devin Green ran it in for the score. The two-point conversion failed.
"I was feeling really good at that point," Faircloth said.
But Vidalia’s ensuing kickoff went for naught when the kicker just brushed the side of the ball, giving the Chiefs possession at the Viking 41.
Five plays later, Kohl Nolan scored from 18 yards out at West Ouachita extended its lead to 24-12.
West Ouachita turned the ball over on a fumble at the Viking 2-yard line but Hagan’s third interception gave the Chiefs possession at the Viking 38.
Owens scored on a 15-yard run as West Ouachita went up 31-12.
A blocked punt at the Viking 10-yard line was caught by Cole in the end zone to increase the Chiefs’ lead.
The final West Ouachita score came with 1:42 remaining as Ethan Plunk scored on a 3-yard run.
"They just wore us down near the end," Faircloth said. "We had cramps kicking in in the second half. They wore us down with their numbers."
“Coach Faircloth and his staff had a great gameplan,” Middleton said. “They came out in a couple of formations we were not expecting.”
West Ouachita hosts Lakeside Friday.
Vidalia welcomes Caldwell Friday.