By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
CLEAR FORK —
The first road game of the year for the Bluefield Beavers didn’t start well, but it was a happy ending as the Beavers topped the Westside Renegades 54-12, Friday night on the Westside campus.
Montel Leggett rushed for 247 yards (unofficial) and three touchdowns, while Corey Coppola returned a fumble for a score, intercepted a pass and ran 44 yards for a score.
On the second play from scrimmage the Renegades’ Mike Mullens took a handoff from quarterback Justin Cogar bounced it outside and ran 65 yards for the first score of the game. Cogar called his own number on the two-point conversion and 45 seconds into the game Westside held an 8-0 lead.
“Mullens is a nice runner, for a sophomore he’s pretty good and so is their quarterback (Cogar),” said Beavers head coach Fred Simon. “A score shouldn’t kill us. We’ve got to overcome things like that and we did a nice job bouncing right back down the field to score. I’m proud of our players. They’re playing hard and I think doing better all the time.”
Bluefield answered on its first possession, going 65 yards but using seven plays and taking up 2:44 of clock time. Johnny David finished the drive with a 37 yard run off left tackle. Justin Mariotti booted the PAT and the Beavers were on the board, trailing 8-7.
Westside went three-and-out on its next possession and after a 17 yard punt that gave the Beavers the ball on the Renegades 40, D.J. Stewart covered 40 yards for the score on the first play of the drive. Mariotti’s point was true and Bluefield was on top 14-8.
On Westside’s first play from scrimmage after the kickoff, Cogar lateralled to Morgan who failed to cover the loose ball and Coppola scooped up the ball and the Renegades 10 and carried it into the end zone. Mariotti’s PAT made it 21-8.
“I didn’t realize it was a lateral until my teammates were yelling at me, ‘go, go, go,’” Coppola said. “I picked it up and got the touchdown.”
Defense came to the fore again for the Beavers as Justin Carter picked off a Cogar pass at his own 44. Bluefield then embarked on its longest drive, time-wise, of the half, chewing up 3:01 on eight plays before Stewart scampered 14 yards for his second score of the night. Mariotti’s kick gave Bluefield a 28-8 advantage.
Westside got the ball back on downs after Bluefield failed to convert a fourth down attempt at the Renegades 33.
Again defense came to the fore as Coppola picked off a Cogar screen pass at the 35 and took it down to the 13.
“The interception, I was just in the right place at the right time,” Coppola said.
On the next play Leggett legged out the 13 yards for the touchdown. Mariotti’s kick was perfect and the Beavers lead was 35-8.
Westside had its longest drive of the opening half, driving from its 33 to the Beavers 14 before turning the ball over on downs.
Taking over on its 15, Bluefield marched 85 yards on five plays, capped by Coppola’s 44 yard jaunt around left end. Mariotti’s kick was the 42nd point of the half for the Beavers.
“I had a hole you could have driven a Mack truck through,” Coppola said. “It was good blocking by the line. I made an easy cutback and it was wide open.”
Bluefield drove to the Westside 11 in the closing seconds of the half, but time expired and the Beavers took a 42-8 lead to the locker room .
It took Bluefield two plays in the second half to light up the scoreboard once again. Leggett motored 49 yards to paydirt, but Mariotti’s kick was wide left to make it 48-8.
Getting the ball after a three-and-out, the Beavers put together a 15-play drive beginning at their own 16. However, Mariotti’s field goal from 40 yards had the distance but was wide left.
The Beavers final score of the night came with 11:49 to play in the game when once again Leggett found the end zone on a 75-yard run. Bluefield took a knee on the two-point conversion.
Westside added a late touchdown, Justin Kennedy snagging a 15-yard pass from backup quarterback Larry Cook with 6:38 left in the contest. The conversion pass failed.
Bluefield tallied 571 yards unofficially on the ground, led by Leggett with 247. David carried 14 times for 100 yards, Stewart 7-for-77 and Coppola 5-for-60. Edwards completed 3-of-7 passes for 25 yards.
Mullens led Westside with 160 yards on 14 rushes. Cogar was 1-of-7 passing for one yard with two interceptions. Cook was 2-of-2 for 12 yards and a touchdown.
Bluefield, now 6-1 will host Oak Hill next Friday in their final home game of the season. Speaking of the Devils, Simon said, “We’ll watch them and get ready to play our game, do our best. So far, our players, I’ve got my hat off to them and the coaching staff. Everybody is working hard and trying and I am very proud and pleased with the staff and the players.”
Westside, now 4-4 is open next week. They host Mount View on Oct. 26.
Bluefield (6-1)…...............…28 14 6 6 — 54
Westside (4-4)……...............8 0 0 8 — 14
W - Michael Mullens 65 run (Cogar run), 11:15
B - Johnny David 37 run (Justin Mariotti kick), 8:34
B - D.J. Stewart 40 run (Mariotti kick), 7:06
B - Corey Coppola 10 yard fumble recovery (Mariotti kick), 6:56
B - Stewart 14 run (Mariotti kick), 2:06
B - Montel Leggett 13 run (Mariotti kick), 10:12
B - Coppola 44 run (Mariotti kick), 4:39
B - Leggett 49 run (kick failed), 11:15
B - Leggett 75 run (run failed), 11:29
W - Larry Cook 15 pass to Justin Kennedy (pass failed), 6:38
Rushing: Bluefield - Montel Leggett 18-247, D.J. Edwards 5-30, Johnny David 14-100, D.J. Stewart 7-77, Corey Coppola 5-60, Randall Maxey 2-2, Marqi Dowell 2-19, Marcus Santoro 2-14, Christian Oster 2-18, Charles Ross 2-2, Totals 61-571. Westside - Michael Mullins 14-160, Justin Cogar 13-6, Dylan Newsome 2-13, Hunter Walker 1-(-2), Matthew Harless 1-(-2), Zack Bailey 4-16, Kyle Goodson 2-14, Larry Cook 1-6, Anthony Bragg 1-(-2), Totals 39-209
Passing: Bluefield - Edwards 3-7 25 yards. Westside - Cogar 1-7 1 yard, 2 INT, Cook 2-2 12 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Bluefield - David 2-10, Stewart 1-15. Westside Fox 1-(-3), Kennedy 1-15, Mullins 1-1.