Huge first half carries Riders

The true Renaissance men.

In the infamous art period that began in the 1400s, many painters and sculptors of that time have gone on to become the benchmark by which so many after them have been judged.

Arguably the most popular of that three-plus century span was Michelangelo, a man known to excel in a variety of mediums.

So, on the anniversary of the unveiling of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture ‘David,’ it is only appropriate that the West Jefferson High School football team presented a masterpiece of their own, molding an exquisite 53-21 victory over visiting Greenon Friday in a game that was not nearly as close as the score would indicate.

With the score 47-7 at the intermission, by Ohio High School rules, the game was operated using a running clock the entire second half.

As was true with Michelangelo, the Roughriders (3-0, 1-0) showed they were men of many talents as they dominated the game in all facets — offense, defense and special teams. The West Jeff coach was pleased with the overall sound play of his team.

“I thought we came out very crisp on offense tonight,” said Roughriders skipper Shawn Buescher. “And we have been solid on defense all year.”

Throughout the contest, a variety of West Jeff players exemplified on the gridiron the various characteristics that made these Renaissance icons almost household names. The names were made more famous in the modern era through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but on this night, it was the Knights who were retreating into their shells.

Painter Leonardo da Vinci was known for his leadership abilities. The same could be said for West Jeff quarterback Lance Lambert as he orchestrated several scoring drives, including four touchdown passes in the first quarter alone.

The first of those TD passes was a 69-yard bomb to Roughrider Wyatt Dillion on the first play from scrimmage for the game. As the game went on, Dillion showed the traits of cerebral sculptor Donatello as he weaved through the Greenon defense on that touchdown catch/run, as well as other plays from his running back position.

Intensity was the mantra of architect Raphael. While this was shown by many Roughriders, Gabe Jones personified this trait best during a short spurt in the second quarter. First, he had a 30-plus yard run to set up a TD run by Dillion. Then he recovered a fumble on Greenon’s next series. Finally, when his squad got the ball back, Jones outran the defense for a touchdown of his own.

Lambert connected with Jordan South, Justin Williams and Zachary Graham — as well as the aforementioned scoring strike to Dillion — in his almost-200 yard first quarter performance. That showed the balance in the receiving corps a number of teams would cherish.

“It all starts up front for us,” Buescher said. “That is how we can try and get all of our weapons involved.”

With the offensive fireworks early, the Roughrider defense was not to be outdone. In the most elusive run of the night, West Jeff’s Caleb VanHook returned an interception thrown by Knights QB Caden Rice more than 30 yards to the end zone, bobbing and weaving his way through the Greenon players.

After the previously-listed second quarter TD runs by Roughriders Dillion and Jones, the Knights were able to punch it across from close range following a West Jeff turnover with just seconds remaining in the first half.

The Greenon momentum continued after the break as the Knights drew first blood in the second half with a long touchdown pass to cut the West Jeff lead to 33 points.

In the third quarter, Buescher pulled the majority of his starters, giving much-appreciated game time reps to as many players as possible. Some of the substituting started in the second quarter.

“For our young kids to play under the Friday night lights is a big deal to them,” said Buescher of giving others opportunities. “They deserve the opportunity from their hard work.”

West Jefferson got one score back in the fourth with a short touchdown run by sophomore Zach Hahn.

The Knights responded with a rushing TD of their own on their next drive.

The Roughriders are on the road next week at Cedarville.

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West Jefferson’s Lance Lambert fired four touchdown passes in the first half of the Roughriders victory over Greenon Friday. Jefferson’s Lance Lambert fired four touchdown passes in the first half of the Roughriders victory over Greenon Friday. Jeff Gates | For The Madison Press

By Jeff Gates

For The Madison Press

Jeff Gates is a contributor for The Madison Press.