Westwood quarterback Mitch Good ran for two touchdowns, threw for another, and had an interception on defense to lead Westwood to a 35-0 playoff victory against Briarwood on Saturday night.
CAMILLA — Next.
It was business as usual for Westwood Saturday night. It’s playoff time, and the Wildcats are off and winning again.
Forget the number of A’s at the end of the title. This is Westwood, where the Wildcats won for the 35th time in their last 37 games with a 35-0 victory against Briarwood in the opening round of the GISA Class AA state playoffs at Centennial Stadium.
Yep, these are the Westwood Wonders, the program that won 26 games in a row and back-to-back Class A state titles before moving to GISA Class AA this fall.
Not much has changed for Westwood, where Xs and Os are more important than A’s
“We still expect to win,” said Westwood coach Ross Worsham before the playoffs began.
They played like it.
Quarterback Mitch Good had a huge night, running for two touchdowns and throwing for another. He also had an interception on defense, and was perfect in the air in the second half when he completed 3-of-3 passed for 129 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown, a 41-yard pass that set up a touchdown, and a 29-yard pass that set up another.
"Mitch was really sharp in the second half,'' Worsham said. "He had a real good game for us. He got us started with that long (45-yard TD) run. That's been a big play for us all year.''
Good finished the night, rushing for 63 yards on five carries and touchdown runs of 45 and 8 yards, and he threw for 129 yards.
"Our offense sputtered a bit, but a win is a win,'' said Good, who gave most of the credit for the victory to the defensive unit. "It wasn't our best game on offense, but our defense kept us in the game.''
Westwood's offense was more than good (no pun intended) enough. J.T. Edore ran for 66 yards on eight carries and scored on an 11-yard run, and Chason Worsham rushed for 76 yards on nine carries and scored on a 12-yard run. Worsham also had a reception worth 41 yards.
The schools are bigger and the competition better, but the Wildcats (9-2) started their march to what they hope is a third consecutive state title with a powerful running game and a defense that made life tough on the Buccaneers (6-5) all night.
Westwood travels next week to face Edmund Burke, which had a first round bye, in the state quarterfinals, and if the Wildcats win, they will be at home in two weeks to host the state semifinal round.
If they Wildcats keep playing defense like they did on Friday, there's little doubt they will be at home in two weeks. And they pitched the shutout without their best defensive lpayer, linebacker Jamie Davis, who is out with a knee injury.
"The defense played great,'' Ross Worsham said. "If they don't score, they can't beat you. They bent but they didn't break. They ran that power football at us, and that's probably what we're giong to see next week, just running off-tackle and traps. Putting up that zero was pretty impressive.''
The Wildcat defense had four sacks and nine plays for either no gain or a loss and didn't allow a play for more than 12 yards all night. Briarwood's biggest play of the night was a questionable 15-yard pass interference penalty that gave the Bucs a chance to score just before halftime.
The pass interference call on a fourth-down incompletion gave Briarwood a first down inside the Westwood 10-yard-line, but the Westwood D held its ground and stopped Briarwood quarterback Steven Parris at the 1-yard-line as time expired to go to halftime leading 14-0.
"That was a big play,'' Ross Worsham said. "There were a lot of kids in on that play, Jacques Irvin, who was playing at outside linebacker in place of Jamie Davis, and Dylan Larkin and T. J. Robertson all had good games on defense.
"That play was kind of a momentum buster. If they score there we go into halftime leading 14-7,'' he said. "So it was a pretty big play.''
The Wildcats made it look easy. They took the lead with 8:57 left in the first quarter when Good made a Houdini-like fake to his tailback, then darted up the middle for a 45-yard TD run to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead on their first series of the night — a four-play 54-yard drive that served notice that these kids want to make another run at a state crown.
Westwood scored in the second quarter when Edore went untouched on an 11-yard run to cap a 52-yard, eight-play drive that included a gamble on fourth-and-1 at the Briarwood 39, where Edore ran for four yards to the 35.
He picked up 17 on the next play to the 17, and after Chason Worsham ran for six to the 11, Edore romped in for the 14-0 lead.
Good went to the air in the second half to build the lead to 28-0 in the third quarter. Good hit Ridge Collins with a 20-yard pass, and Collins made two good moves then dashed up the right sideline for a 59-yard catch-and-run TD and a 21-0 lead with 10:33 left in the third.
Dylon Smith intercepted a pass to give the ball back to Westwood, and Good connected with Chason Worsham, who broke free for a 41-yard gain to the 17. Edore ran the ball to the 8-yard-line, and Good took it in from there to lift Westwood to a 28-0 lead with 5:33 left in the third.
Good’s final pass of the night came early in the fourth when he connected with Kaleb Bentley for 29 yards to the Briarwood 12. Chason Worsham scored on the next play to make it 35-0 with 10:41 left. Westwood went to its backups, who held on to get the shutout and take the first step toward another state title.
Good said he talked with his receivers at halftime about opening it up.
"We just said that we needed to step it up to give our running backs more room,'' Good said. "We were only winning 14-0, but the defense shut them out. It was good to get the first one out of the way.''
Westwood also extended its winning streak to 20 games at Centennial, but more importantly, the Wildcats had another strong performance in the playoffs, where they haven't lost a game since 2009.
'It was good to get the first one,'' Worsham said. "You never know. That was the first of four one-game seasons. Every game you either win or go home, and we played the first season tonight.''
Good felt the same way.
"We've got three more one-game seasons,'' he said. "Tonight was the first. We;re going to make a run to the best of our ability to get back to the state title. We need three more one-game season wins.''