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By JOEL COLEMAN
Ledrick Patterson's athleticism has won East Webster plenty of games this season.
Friday night, as the Wolverines hosted John F. Kennedy in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs, the East Webster quarterback used both his football smarts and his motivating skills to help his team push past the Hornets 38-12.
With the Wolverines (13-0) leading just 8-6 after two quarters, Patterson had taken notice of a JFK defensive tendency. Using his knowledge, the East Webster signal caller used the intermission to share the information with his teammates, as well as to provide a little motivation.
"Being the captain that I am, I tried to pick my boys up because I didn't want the season to end," said Patterson. "I just told them that we know how to play ball. We've been doing it our whole life so coming out here flat and stuff, we can't do that. I told them to pick their heads up and lets have fun."
Patterson's words worked. It took the Wolverines just over a minute of third quarter play to stretch their lead to 15-6 on a Timakis Bell 5-yard touchdown run.
By the end of the period, East Webster had found the end zone two more times for a 28-6 advantage.
"We had to adjust (at halftime) to a little bit of an overload," said East Webster head coach Jimmy Carden. "That was new. (Kennedy) had just put that in. Good job by their coaching staff because we hadn't seen that. But we adjusted to that and worked better after that."
East Webster's big third quarter was the perfect answer to a first half that saw JFK match the Wolverines blow-for-blow.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Hornets (8-5) drew first blood on a 1-yard run by quarterback Samodrian Melton to go up 6-0.
Patterson pulled East Webster even on the ensuing possession. Capping an 11-play, 65-yard drive, Patterson scored on a 9-yard run.
Bell added a two-point conversion run following Patterson's touchdown.
East Webster never trailed again following Patterson's score, helped in large part by a defensive unit that hauled in four interceptions, one apiece from Patterson, Miguel Graham, Josh Gladney, and Xavier Moye.
"(Turnovers) are the name of the game," said Carden. "We turned it over twice and lost scores ourself. That's something we've been doing the last couple of weeks but we'll have that mopped up by next Friday night."
The Hornets scored only once in the second half on a 35-yard pass from Melton to receiver Dontarius Malone.
With the game already well in hand, the Wolverines iced the game in the fourth quarter.
Bell drilled a 33-yard field goal and Patterson found the end zone on a short-yardage run to cap the scoring.
All told, East Webster tallied 343 total yards of offense, all rushing.
Bell tallied a team-high 168 yards, followed by Demetrius O'Briant's 100 and Patterson's 76.
The win now sets up a battle of Class 2A titans in next week's third round as East Webster travels to Calhoun City.
The Wildcats bested Hollandale Simmons 48-6 on Friday.
"That's been the talk," said Bell. "You go on Facebook and everybody is talking about East Webster and Calhoun City. We're prepared and we're coming to play a good game no matter what. We have been waiting on this for a while."