MABEN – East Webster plowed through the regular season without a loss. Not much changed for the Wolverines on Friday, even with a little playoff pressure.
The Class 2A, Region 2 champions busted out to a 35-0 lead through three quarters en route to beating Bruce 35-20, ousting the Trojans from the postseason.
"Our kids played hard and I was proud of them," said East Webster head coach Jimmy Carden. "We got a couple of scores late in the second quarter that put it out to three scores and that was big. Came back in the third quarter and popped a couple of more on them. Just did a good job."
East Webster (12-0) was led in rushing by Demetrius O'Briant's 153 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.
Timakis Bell also found the end zone twice on the ground.
Bell actually accounted for the Wolverines' first two scores, breaking off a 13-yard scoring run midway through the first quarter before finding pay dirt again with a 12-yard carry late in the second.
After a Miguel Graham interception on the first play of Bruce's ensuing possession, O'Briant found the end zone for the first time with a 50-yard run that provided East Webster a 21-0 halftime lead.
O'Briant and Josh Gladney each had rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to cap the Wolverines' side of the scoring.
Bruce (4-8) closed the gap with three scores late in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Davis Brown found the end zone on a pair of short-yardage runs, as did running back Zay Armstrong.
"We kind of lost our focus in the fourth quarter," said Carden. "We got a lot of new guys in, but when you are 12 games into the season, your new guys are supposed to know how to play too."
Carden himself actually took the blame for the Trojans' late surge.
"I'll go over and work on a helmet and lose focus on what's going on (on the field), so it's not just (the players) it's me," said Carden. "We all kind of lost focus and gave (Bruce) 20 in the fourth."
Despite the game's final few minutes, East Webster will now advance to a second-round playoff game next week at home against Kennedy, a team that improved to 8-4 on the season with a 39-12 first-round win over Cohoma AHS on Friday.
Carden hopes O'Briant, Bell, and the entire Wolverines' rushing attack can keep on keeping on next week against the Hornets.
"If you can control the ball, don't turn it over, and play good defense, you've got a chance to go a long way," said Carden.