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During West Monroe’s 100-game win streak over district opponents, only six wins have come by single digits. And for the first quarter against West Ouachita, it looked as though the Rebels would be in one of those rare dogfights in District 2-5A.

West Monroe overcame the slow start and eventually wore down a physical West Ouachita club to seal the triple-digit district win streak with a 25-0 victory Friday night.

“I assure you that we don’t focus on 100 wins, but it’s a tremendous milestone, no doubt about it,” West Monroe head coach Jerry Arledge said. “It’s the first thing we talk about as a team. We want to make sure we win district, and that will set up our playoff run.”

The Rebels out-gained the Chiefs, 400-177, in total yards. With star tailback Rayshawn Pleasant and defensive end Brock Harvey sidelined for the contest — Pleasant and Harvey have been battling ankle injuries in recent weeks — Noah Norman led the team offensively with 131 rushing yards and one score on 13 carries.

“We thought it would be best to let (Harvey and Pleasant) try to heal up and be ready for the next game,” Arledge said.

West Ouachita dealt with its share of injuries too, as the Chiefs entered this matchup down running backs Kohl Nolan and R.J. Henderson. Nolan is done for the year with a knee injury, while Henderson is working his way back from a head injury. Nolan fought his way back onto the field for West Ouachita after suffering an ankle injury in the offseason, so to see the Chiefs senior running back suffer a different injury was heartbreaking for head coach Mike Rainwater.

“I can’t say enough about that young man because he fought so hard to get back rom that ankle injury. But I do know this isn’t the last you’ve heard from him,” Rainwater said. 

A scary moment unfolded in the game when another Chiefs skill player Mike Hall fell forward and landed face first on the turf. Hall eventually made his way off of the field, but that put the Chiefs down another man.

“Look our kids played hard,” Rainwater said. “We talked all week about going in and earning respect in District 2-5A. We thought we played Ouachita pretty good a week before and we wanted to go in and play better this week. We’re not accepting moral victories. We have all intentions of going in and winning these ballgames.” 

After a scoreless first quarter, Norman picked up the slack and made an impact with a 36-yard touchdown score in the second quarter to break the tie.

Later in the quarter, Haikeem Buckley found the end zone on a seven-yard scamper to put the Rebels on top, 12-0, at halftime.

“I thought West Ouachita came out and played extremely hard,” Arledge said. “We knew they would because this is such a close rival. It’s hard to convince your own kids of that, and momentum is a powerful drug. It’s another great lesson that the game of football teaches you. We told them all week this wasn’t going to be a cake walk, and (West Ouachita) came out ready to play and extremely motivated.”

West Monroe quarterback Hayden Federico used his feet to find the end zone in the third quarter on a one-yard run and star linebacker Chauncey Lee found paydirt in the final quarter on a 15-yard score.

West Ouachita found success early through the air, as quarterback Mason Cobb connected with Chase White for a large gain. The Chiefs made their way all the way to the 1-yard line but could not punch it in.

Cobb ended his day completing seven-of-15 passes for 86 yards. Without Nolan again, the Chiefs relied on Toni Ford in the run game. Ford led the Chiefs with 72 yards on 23 carries.

The Rebels passing game struggled in the victory. One week after leading the Rebels to a win against ASH, Federico completed just three-of-seven passes for 18 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed for 49 yards and a score on nine carries.

West Ouachita will look to take down Pineville this Friday in a game that could ultimately decide the (2-5) Chiefs’ playoff fate.

Meanwhile, the (4-2) Rebels will travel to challenge Ouachita on the road one week after the Lions fell to Ruston in a 56-55 double overtime contest.

“For Ouachita to hang with a good Ruston football team tells you all you need to know about them,” Arledge said. “Ol’ Todd (Garvin) has them playing very hard. Shoot, that goes a long way.”

Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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