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’Cats pick up third victory

West Ranch pulls away in the second half

Posted: September 25, 2009 11:50 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

West Ranch head coach Sean O’Brien had several goals for his team this year, the most important one being a winning season.

Four games into the year, that goal is looking good.

West Ranch defeated visiting Beverly Hills 33-17 Friday night at Valencia High.

“We have been mostly focused on ourselves,” O’Brien said. “It’s not to say that we haven’t been focusing on other teams game plans, but we know that the first thing we need to work on is our own personal game. I think tonight was a prime example of that. I think the opening drive of the game was a prime example of that.”

The drive was a 97-yard, six-minute march by the Normans (1-2) that West Ranch (3-1) stopped on its own one-foot line.

The Wildcats broke through 30 seconds into the second quarter when Trevin Manuel punched in a score from one yard out to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead.

West Ranch made it a 12-0 game on Manuel’s second rushing score, when he crossed the goal-line after a two-yard run at the 4:20 mark.

Beverly Hills quarterback Cameron Countryman quickly answered an 80-yard run to pay dirt to make it a 12-7 game 15 seconds later.

“I just saw a couple of holes on that play, and my guards pulled for me really well, which opened up the openings for me,” Countryman said. “I was just able to break free and get past everyone.”

The Normans took their first lead of the game when Countryman ran into the end zone from two yards out with 38 seconds left in the half to give Beverly Hills a 14-12 lead.

The lead was pushed to five on a field goal after the Normans recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half in West Ranch territory, but the Wildcats cruised from that point on.

“Honestly, I think they were just in better shape than we are,” Countryman said. “We have a lot of guys that are out right now, and I mean, I’m only a sophomore and I’m starting, so we know this is kind of a rebuilding year.”

West Ranch regained the lead when quarterback Connor Eichten hooked up with Matt Szymanski on a 28-yard touchdown pass at the three-minute mark to make it a 19-17 game.

Zak Snell padded the Wildcat lead with a 26-17 just before the close of the third quarter when he broke off a 29-yard touchdown run.

Manuel finished with 56 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Snell tallied 64 yards and a touchdown.

Eichten finished 8-for-13 for 88 yards with a pair of TDs, the second a five-yard strike to James McCough with 9:44 remaining in the game.

The defense was led by seven tackles from Andrew Nowakowski, Matt Bruns and Mike Modlin. The Wildcats also got interceptions from Branden Pistone, Bruns and Nick Brooks.



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