Western might be the least talked about unbeaten high school team in South Florida. But that might change soon.
The Wildcats, who dispatched visiting Cooper City 37-14 on Friday night, will be able to prove themselves in the coming weeks with key district battles against Cypress Bay and Miramar.
Western (6-0) struggled early in its grudge match against the Cowboys in the annual Hog Bowl, falling behind when Cooper City’s Jarrett Morgan burst up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.
Western’s defense seemed stunned by Cooper City’s sudden offensive awaking. Prior to that scoring drive, the Cowboys (2-4) had run nine offensive plays for 20 yards.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
On the scoring drive, however, Cooper City went 78 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
And then it was all Western.
The Wildcats cut into their deficit with a 25-yard field goal before junior quarterback Wade Freebeck and Robert Hoy hooked up for a 2-yard score late in the half.
Western then marched down the field on its first possession of the second half and made it 17-7 when Brayon Parrish charged in from the 8.
Cooper City appeared to have gotten warm once more as it reached midfield, but Juwan Daniels snared a Sean Pratt pass at midfield and sprinted 55 yards for another touchdown. Two plays after Daniels scored, Billy Ellison got an interception and brought it to the 20.
Freebeck tossed touchdown passes to John Atwell (26 yards) and Tarik Cummings (51 yards), as the Wildcats broke open the game by scoring four touchdowns in just over seven minutes in the third quarter.
The Cowboys made the score a little more respectable late in the fourth when Lemond Johnson and Lukas Volpe hooked up for a 21-yard score with five minutes left.
“We talked at halftime about finishing, coming out and playing a good second half,” Western coach Rashad West said.
“We were fortunate to do that [Friday night]. We played as a team. That’s what’s been the M.O. all year. I know we have some kids that get a little bit more love in the paper, but we play as a team.”
•St. Thomas Aquinas 48, South Broward 0:
The Raiders scored 28 points in the first quarter, and the Bulldogs were hurt by penalties as St. Thomas Aquinas shut out host South Broward in front of about 200 fans.
South Broward had 15 penalties for 122 yards on a night when the Raiders defense smothered any chance of a Bulldogs score. The Bulldogs fell to 0-6 on the season.
Tensions escalated late in the second quarter, with the teams getting into a scuffle on the field with 3:18 remaining in the half and the score already 28-0.
Nine players were ejected following the fight, including five from St. Thomas.
•Pahokee 40, Calvary Christian 14:
Pahokee (2-4) defeated host Calvary Christian (3-4) in a game controlled by the Blue Devils defense, which forced four fumbles in the game, the first on the Eagles’ first drive that was turned into a James Johnson 1-yard sneak.
On the Eagles’ second drive, an overthrown punt snap was recovered by Leon Anderson in the end zone, giving Pahokee an early 14-0 lead.
The Blue Devils’ second (out of three) special-teams score of the day came when Kevon Milner returned a 58-yard punt on the Eagles’ third drive of the game.
Calvary Christian scored before halftime when Issac Hoza connected on a 7-yard pass to Andrew Liberty.
But any momentum the Eagles had was shattered on Rashaun Croney’s 94-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
Hoza finished 13-of-27 passing for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Johnson led the Blue Devils with 192 total yards (65 rushing) and three total touchdowns.
The Blue Devils defense recorded seven sacks.
Middle linebacker Antoine Paige had three sacks and had a forced fumble. Derry Brown and Jason Johnson had two sacks each.