Neither a steady rain nor a sloppy field could spoil Sheddrick Risper’s debut game as the head coach at Westside.
Running backs Robert Brown and Adrian Bentley combined to rush for 226 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Seminoles to a 34-0 win over rival Central on Thursday night at Henderson Stadium in Risper’s first game since taking over for mentor Robert Davis in May.
“I’m glad it’s over, waiting to play that first game,” Risper said. “It feels pretty good. We’ve got a long way to go, but it feels better getting there with a win.”
Although they missed on some scoring opportunities in the first half, the Seminoles rolled up and down the field from the start of their first possession.
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Brown carried the ball five times for 41 yards on the Seminoles’ first drive, capping it with a 1-yard plunge. Bentley raced in for a 40-yard touchdown on Westside’s next possession.
Brown added another touchdown in the second quarter — this one from 39 yards out — and had already rushed for more than 100 yards in the half. His third touchdown — a 10-yard run — put the Seminoles up 34-0 with 5:42 to play in the third quarter.
“Robert is a very humble guy, but he is a great running back,” Risper said. “He is an amazing back and most importantly a team player.”
Brown split carries last season with Marcus Wilson, but Brown still managed to rush for more than 1,300 yards. He’s still splitting carries this season with another talented back in Bentley, but the running game could be even more of a focal point with a new quarterback and the graduation of receiver Danny Madison, the Associated Press Class AAAA Offensive Player of the Year in 2008.
“I don’t think this year is any different than last year,” Brown said. “Bentley is as good as Marcus Wilson, and we feel like we can really carry the load when we need to.”
Brown finished with 153 yards on 18 carries, while Bentley added 73 yards on seven carries.
New starting quarterback Cameron Jones showcased his ability with a big second quarter. The senior went 5-of-7 for 88 yards in the quarter, highlighted by a perfect fade pass to Ronnie Carswell for an 18-yard touchdown late in the quarter.
The Westside defense didn’t look as if had lost anything from last season. The Seminoles held the Chargers to negative rushing yards and sacked Central quarterbacks seven times.
“We made a lot of mental errors and had too many breakdowns,” Central head coach Anthony Hines said. “Robert (Davis) didn’t leave the cupboard bare. That team is too good to make mistakes against.”
Central only threatened to score once. At the end of the first half, Central had three chances inside the 10-yard line to score, including two inside the 3-yard line after consecutive Westside penalties gave the Chargers two untimed downs. The first Seminoles’ penalty in that sequence — a roughing the passer call — erased Richard Nash’s 103-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Westside defense stopped Central on the 1-yard line to end the half, and Central never got closer than the Westside 43-yard line in the second half.
“The defense always brings their lunch pales,” Risper said. “They are perfectionists, and they take the personality of (defensive coordinator Hosea Laney).”