The Westside Seminoles racked up more than 400 yards of offense in the first half Friday night, scoring 42 points in that span, and cruised to an opening game 49-14 win over Rutland.
Dre’Quan Taylor, starting at quarterback for the very first time in high school, threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, while running back Cedric Hollingshed had 149 yards rushing and a score to key the win.
“Dre’Quan is a true leader on this field, and the other players flock to him,” said Westside head coach Sheddrick Risper, whose team remained undefeated against all other Bibb County programs. “He has been in our system a long time and has waited his turn to get on the field, and I am proud of the way he played. We know we have a great back with Cedric, and I told our guys that we were soft up front all summer.
“We did a little better playing more of a physical brand of football, but we have a long way to go.”
Rutland kicked off to start the game and recovered a squib kick and took over in great field position, but it was unable to get a first down in four plays. Westside immediately took advantage, moving 69 yards in nine plays with Taylor scoring from 10 yards out.
Rutland countered quickly. On its second play in the next drive, Timori Northcutt found Dallas Smith streaking down the sideline and hit him in stride for an 82-yard touchdown pass. But that was the lone bright spot for the Hurricanes’ offense, as the Seminoles’ defense put the clamps down after that.
Meanwhile, Westside scored at will. On the next drive, Taylor found Steve Dolphus twice, the first for 47 yards down to the 16, and one play later found him again for the score. A minute later, Northcutt was intercepted by Marquez Sanford, who took it 55 yards for another score. The barrage wouldn’t stop, and Taylor connected with Tyler Wheeler for a 64-yard score to make it 28-7. Rutland did put together a drive and scored on a 1-yard run from T.J Faulks, but Taylor quickly struck again, finding Dolphus on a 64-yard pass for a touchdown to make it 35-7. After a three-and-out by Rutland, Gerimie Mitchell took a pitch from Taylor and turned it into another big play, a 55-yard run to blow the game open a halftime.
Westside will have a short week to get ready for Thursday’s game against Harris County, which made it to the quarterfinals last year.
“It was good to get a win, but we play next Thursday, so it’s a very quick turnaround,” Risper said. “We saw some good things in this game, but we still have a long way to go as a football team. Harris County will be a great test for us.”