By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– West Salem clicked at all cylinders Saturday evening at Summit in their 28-15 home victory. A win that helped put the Titans in front of the Mountain Valley Conference-standings with three games left in the regular season.
The offensive line setup Johnny Withers’ big rushing game, the senior rushing for 115 yards on 21 carries. Brooks Ferguson threw for 115 yards and a touchdown, Zachary Dodson-Greene got the touchdown with 47 receiving yards on three catches as the defense held the Storm offense to 13 points in the game.
Two points came off a second quarter safety with the Titans seemingly controlling the game over the final three quarters of the contest.
“We knew coming in we had to be clicking on all cylinders. (Summit’s) a good football team and they do a lot of things right…Us attacking them at all cylinders really got us the win tonight,” Dodson-Greene said.
Both teams traded scores in the first quarter. With both scores coming in the waning minutes of the quarter. Withers put the Titans ahead at the 1:35 mark only to see Ryan Powell answered with an 81-yard dash a minute later. The game was tied at seven going into the second.
Ferguson picked up the first of his two rushing touchdowns five minutes into the second quarter. But penalties on the next drive, a holding and an offensive pass interference, pinned West Salem with their heels on their goal line. Next play Ferguson was sacked to cut the lead to 14-9 with the Storm looking for the lead before halftime with 4:38 on the clock.
Penalties seemed to be the kryptonite to the Superman-like game that the Titans were having. Something they know they’ll need to clean up knowing how strong of a team McNary is as they try to carry the momentum from Saturday into Friday’s game.
“Without the penalties, the score could’ve been much higher. That’s for us to work on and be even better next week, we won’t worry about the penalties next week,” Withers said. “Just work even harder in practice. Train outside of football, all that helps and just focus up and watch film.”
West Salem’s defense held strong and the offense drove down the field. Eventually Dodson-Greene made a stretching catch with 25 seconds left to push the lead to 21-9 by halftime.
With the running game the emphasis in the third quarter, both teams had one possession in the third quarter before Ferguson punched it in for his second rushing touchdown of the game as West Salem’s offense picked up 187 yards on the ground in the game.
“Everything that we worked on this week in practice just clicked. Our offensive line, the blocking, was insane tonight. The holes just opened up and it made it too easy for our offense to keep it going,” Withers said. “Our receivers were catching balls, we got to work on not getting as many penalties, but we’ll be ready for next week.”
Ferguson’s touchdown with 10:34 left in the game was the final score of the game as West Salem handed Summit their first league loss of the season. Snapping their four-game winning streak in the process with the Storm turning their focus to Mountain View Friday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald