After an early season bye week, the Western football team was eager to get back on the field. The Wildcats took advantage of their superior athleticism and overall team speed in a 38-13 victory at Douglas on Thursday night.
Western forced three turnovers, including a 70-yard interception return for touchdown by Alex Norena, and quarterback Wade Freebeck passed for 286 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats.
Jimmy Gonzalez caught two touchdown passes, including a 33-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter and a 14-yard touchdown midway through the third, to put Western in control with a 24-6 lead.
A 79-yard touchdown reception by Robert Foy, his second of the game, from Freebeck put the game away late in the third quarter as he caught a pass down the seam and took it the distance to give the Wildcats a 31-6 lead. Foy finished with four catches for 143 yards, and Gonzalez had five catches for 78 yards.
Western opened up with a 3-0 lead following a 23-yard field goal by Blake Horn. The field goal capped an eight-play drive keyed by a 45-yard pass from Freebeck to Tarik Cummings.
The Wildcats (2-0) then pushed the score to 10-0 when Freebeck hit Gonzalez on a 33-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Gonzalez made a great leaping catch, then broke a tackle as he sprinted down the Western sideline.
The touchdown was set up by a fumble recovery by Danny Shelvin that gave Western the ball at the Douglas’ 36 just two plays earlier. Shelvin had two fumble recoveries to lead the Western defense.
Douglas (1-2) got on the scoreboard late in the first half on a 1-yard dive by Tyler Crowe that cut the lead to 10-6. The Eagles took advantage of back-to-back, roughing-the-passer penalties by Western that got the Eagles to the Wildcats’ 31-yard line.
Crowe finished with 145 yards passing and a touchdown pass.
• Monarch 36, McArthur 33: In a game that had five lead changes, Monarch’s Darius Hoggins scored a career-high five touchdowns, including two on long kickoff returns, as the visiting Knights prevailed over McArthur.
McArthur had the lead at 33-29 when Damian Richardson scored his second touchdown from 7 yards out on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hoggins immediately erased the lead when he scored on his second kickoff return of the game, a 90-yarder, and the Knights (2-0) managed to hold off the Mustangs (1-1) the rest of the game.
The teams had a brief skirmish with 1:21 remaining before the coaches broke it up at midfield, and it resulted in two players from each team getting ejected.
The Mustangs had one final shot to score, reaching the Knights’ 19 before Terrell Bonds’ final pass of the game fell incomplete. The Monarch players celebrated wildly at midfield, and the teams did not shake hands afterward.
The teams combined for 299 total yards through two quarters, with McArthur leading 27-16 at halftime, mostly because of four Monarch fumbles.
Terrell Bonds threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jacquay Kelly to open the scoring, completing an 83-yard, seven-play drive.
Monarch took its only lead of the half when Darius Hoggins took the ensuing kickoff and ran 91 yards for the score; Hoggins, who later scored on a 3-yard run, then ran in the two-point conversion for Monarch’s 8-6 advantage late in the first quarter.
The Knight’s lead was short-lived as the Mustangs capitalized on another of Monarch first-half turnovers with Damian Richardson scoring from 1 yard out to make it 14-8.
Another turnover was costly for the Knights. Safety Kendrell McFadden scooped up a loose ball and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown before the teams traded touchdowns to end the half.