West Brook downs Ozen
BEAUMONT — For a game that has been decided by two points and three overtimes the last two seasons, one could only wonder what Zero Week’s Ozen and West Brook matchup could do to live up to the recent tradition.
Try a fire that broke out in the back of one of the teams’ school buses in the parking lot just minutes before the game started. Although that fire wasn’t that big of a deal and easily put out by the Beaumont Fire Department, West Brook’s ground game was not so easily controlled.
The Bruins piled up 264 yards on 32 carries and cruised to a 35-14 victory on Friday night at Cardinal Stadium in Beaumont.
West Brook’s rushing attack was led by sophomore running back Christan Michael. The 5-11,195-pound back smoked the Panthers’ defense for 135 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns.
The Bruins also had big runs from junior running back Albert Williams, who rolled up 92 yards on just five carries.
Williams was the big difference in the first half for the Bruins. He provided two 20-plus yard plays that led to two West Brook scoring drives, including one 38-yard draw play up the right side and back down the middle that put his team inside the 10-yard line.
Both of Wiilliams’ key runs led to scores by teammate and quarterback Joe Chaisson who found the end zone on three different ocassions for the Bruins.
“I like the way we ran the ball,” Bruin coach Craig Stump said. “I like our condition. We are in good shape but I think we can continue to improve on that.
“We go out to win games and we didn’t really need to throw the ball tonight. We threw the ball when we needed to, but the running game was there. We got that lead and just started working the clock.”
While it was the running game that flourished so well for the Bruins, it was just the opposite for the Panthers, who cut the lead to seven with 4:38 left in the second quarter on 36-yard strike from quarterback London Durham to wideout Ben Wells.
Prior to that seven-play 72-yard drive, Ozen had not crossed the 50-yard line; and the Panthers could not get anything going on the ground. Ozen tallied just 20 yards on the ground in the first half, leaving it a one dimensional ballclub for most of the game. It was the scrambling busted plays by Durham that proved to be the only effective running attack the Panthers had.
Durham ran the ball for 48 yards on 15 carries and threw for 221yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-31accuracy.
When Durham got hot, he looked very impressive for the Panthers. Durham caught fire on two separate ocassions, leading his team to two touchdown drives.
After hitting Wells for the Panthers’ first score, Durham rallied, hitting on 6-of-9 and connected with Cameron Ball for a 36-yard strike that Ball caught, juggled, caught, juggled, and caught again before hauling in the touchdown grab.
That grab pushed the score to 28-14 with 1:26 left in the third quarter but that was as close as the Panthers could get.
A turnover inside the Bruins’ own five in the fourth quarter by West Brook’s Michael gave Ozen a glimmer of hope. But Durham’s second interception of the night on a third and long was quite fatal for his club.
Bruins’ defensive back Josh Chatman read the play all the way, made the pick and returned the interception all the way down to the Bruins’ 1-yard line.
Two plays later, Chaisson pushed in the sneak for the touchdown and closed the deal.
Chaisson ran for two touchdowns and threw for another. He had 36 yards on 14 carries and threw for 57 yards on 5-of-11 passing. Chaisson’s touchdown through the air came on his team’s second scoring drive. He hit James Banks on a 13-yard play, making the score 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Banks caught three balls for 58 yards.