East Webster bounces back for victory

For Starkville Daily News

If the first two plays from scrimmage were any indication, it seemed that the East Webster defense was in for another long night at Strayhorn.

The Wolverines, however, were determined to flip the script and instead rebounded with a big 46-0 victory on the road.

For head coach Ron Price, the East Webster defense couldn’t have performed any better.

“We had a very bad taste in our mouths from last Friday night,” Price said. “All week, these kids could not wait until kickoff (Friday night). Last Sunday, we had the most kids that we’ve ever had show up for film and they wanted to get back on the field and make things right. To come back (Friday night) and perform the way they did, I am very proud of our team.”

Equally impressive, the offense of the Wolverines also made its presence felt early and often. After they recovered a bad Strayhorn pitch on the third play from scrimmage, as sophomore Steven Betts made his debut as quarterback, hitting junior Conner Shurden for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Junior Parker Burleson hit the ensuing PAT, giving East Webster a 7-0 advantage with 9:23 left.

After the defense forced Strayhorn into a three-and-out, the Wolverines responded again with a big 45-yard reception to Keevon Patterson that was followed up two plays later with a short touchdown scramble from Sloan Hillhouse. Burleson’s kick then extended the lead to 14-0.

From there, East Webster kept its foot on the gas and never looked back. After a quick touchdown toward the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines backed the Mustangs up into their own end zone, trapping Zedrick Johnson for a safety midway through the second quarter. Two short touchdowns from Hillhouse and Ethan Roberts extended the lead into a comfortable advantage for East Webster at the half 36-0.

Despite a running clock for a good portion of the second half, the Wolverines continued to score, as Betts and Shurden connected for another 20-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, before capping things off with Burleson’s 20-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for the 46-0 win.

One impressive takeaway for Price was the performance of Betts, who earned his first start under center.

“We made that decision last Sunday as a staff,” Price said on starting Betts. “We saw some things in a JV game and thought he could be productive for us and he made some great throws early, even though he missed a few throws as well.

"That’s just going to be the growing process of a quarterback and I was very proud of his leadership and his ability to call the right plays and the right protections.”

With the win, East Webster improved to 2-3 for the season. The Wolverines will host J.Z. George next Friday in the last non-region contest of the season.