Finding a solution ‘Justin’ time.
As the biography was being read of eventually-crowned West Jefferson High School Homecoming Queen Hope Lewis on Friday, it stated she planned to go into the sciences when she makes the trek to higher education next Fall.
Just as the new Roughriders royalty will be looking for the most effective chemical reactions to reach her desired scholastic outcome at the collegiate level, her current schoolmates were searching for just the right formula to solve visiting Springfield Catholic Central.
Following a sluggish start on both sides of the ball, a pair of West Jefferson interceptions sparked the Roughriders to a 42-14 victory over the visiting Fighting Irish.
First, the Irish took the opening kickoff and started on a double-digit play drive toward a score; hoping to spoil the West Jefferson Homecoming. But Roughriders defensive back Justin Williams had other ideas as he picked off QB Colin Kelly in the end zone to thwart the early threat.
Then, with the home squad riding some momentum after a Lance Lambert short run got West Jefferson on the board with just seconds remaining in the opening quarter, Roughriders Justin Gatley grabbed a Central Catholic errant pass and returned it 32 yards to pay dirt.
The two interceptions were just what West Jefferson needed to get into the swing of things.
“Getting that stop on their first drive was a big thing,” said Roughriders coach Shawn Buescher. “They came out schematically and threw a few things at us we hadn’t seen.”
On the Irish’s next drive, West Jeff Zack Graham continued the pickoff parade with a grab of his own that he almost took to the house. Lambert did the honors just moments later as he scampered in from 10 yards out.
The Roughriders would reach the end zone twice more in the second stanza. First, Wyatt Dillion weaved his way through Irish defenders for a 33-yard touchdown run. With just over a minute remaining until the break, Lambert connected with a wide open Caleb VanHook for a 30-yard touchdown strike to put the home team up 35-7 at the intermission.
Sandwiched in between was an Irish Kelly to Gunner Weaver 20-yard scoring pass.
Most of the game, however, it was West Jefferson’s Gunner who had the upper hand.
After being crowned Homecoming King prior to the game, West Jeff’s Gunnar Dorn and his defensive comrades were a royal pain to Central Catholic the majority of the game. The same has rung true throughout this season so far for the Roughriders.
“We have always been a defensive-minded team,” Buescher said. “We continue to set the tone with our defense.”
It was more of the same in the second half as the Roughriders took just a little more than a minute to score as Gabe Jones ran it right up the gut from 26 yards away to kickstart the continuous clock.
The Irish got the last score in the final seconds as a ball tipped by a West Jeff defender resulted in a long Central Catholic touchdown pass to conclude the scoring.
The Roughriders travel to Fairbanks Friday.
Jeff Gates is a contributor for The Madison Press.