By GARY DOVE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
CLEAR FORK —
The Westside Renegades exploded for 54 first half points Friday night on the way to a 62-24 victory over the visiting Mount View Golden Knights in the next to last game of the regular season for both clubs.
The Renegades, now 5-4, have hopes of slipping into the Class AA playoffs with a victory over River View next week in the season finale for Westside and the Raiders.
Sophomore quarterback Justin Cogar, who watched the second half with the rest of his starting backfield from the sidelines after a stellar opening two quarters, rushed for three touchdowns and one two-point conversion, while gaining 84 yards on nine first half runs. He also completed six-of-nine passes for 98 more yards, three more scores and three conversions.
His six completions were to four different receivers.
Fellow tenth grader Michael Mullens ran the pigskin seven times, all in the inaugural twenty-four minutes, for 86 yards and one TD. He tacked on a PAT run, as well as catching one of Cogar's passes for another score.
If imitation is the truest form of flattery, Bluefield head coach Fred Simon will be glowing when he hears about the tweaks Westside head coach Darren Thomas made to the Renegade offense after losing to the Beavers two weeks ago.
Related Coach Thomas, in his seventh season as the gridiron boss at Westside, "We switched up the offense a little bit this week. We watched the Bluefield game when they came down and we kind of liked the offense...They have a lot more variations of it. With this offense, we're still in the spread, but our backs are just a little wider."
Mullens hauled in a 10 yard pass from Cogar to start the scoring, only 1:57 into the game, capping a five play, 63 yard drive. Senior Dylan Newsome ran the extra points for an early 8-0 Westside lead.
A blocked punt to end the Knights' first possession translated into a Cogar seven yard scamper at the 7:46 mark of the first to extend the advantage to 14-0.
Mullens found the endzone for the second time of the still young evening, with 4:38 showing in the first, on a 16 yard run, followed by a Cogar PAT run up the middle.
Corey Bowles intercepted a View pass late in the initial frame to set up a two yard TD pass from Cogar-to-Bowles on the first play of the second period, with only five ticks off the clock. A Cogar-to-Levi Lambert aerial for the extra points extended the lead to 30-0.
The Golden Knights, who drop to 3-6 with the setback, were short five starters due to a variety of illness and injuries.
Mount View got on the board on the ensuing kickoff, as sophomore Juwan Diggs fielded the boot at his own 16, started up the middle on the return, cut left and reversed to his right before racing 84 yards to the six-pointer. Senior Maurice Brown ran the PAT, cutting the deficit to 30-8 with 11:37 showing before halftime.
Cogar wasted precious little time in answering that touchdown with a 44 yard burst of his own, only 54 seconds later before throwing to Hunter Walker for the bonus points.
After five consecutive scores on their initial five series, the Renegades turned the football over on downs on possession number six.
Cogar got right back in rhythm, scoring on a one yard run with 2:59 remaining and passing 3 yards to Newsome with 15 seconds to go in the half. He threw to Lambert for the PAT following his run, with Mullens adding the second conversion on a run after Newsome's TD grab.
That 54-8 count is how the explosive first half ended.
The View took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 73 yards in eleven snaps to score on a Chris Muncy 25 yard pass to Brown on fourth-and-ten. Brown tacked on the conversion on another rush, cutting the deficit to 54-16 with 6:28 showing in the third.
Each team scored eight in the fourth, with senior Nick Elswick crossing the goal at the end of a 57 yard rush with 5:26 left in the contest. Zack Bailey rushed for the PAT and a 62-16 Westside lead.
Brown closed out the scoring with 2:15 remaining on a nine yard jaunt up the middle before snagging the conversion pass from Muncy to pen the final score.
Related Golden Knight first year head coach Todd McCoy, "I knew we were short (players not dressing). We didn't come out ready to play the first half tonight. Defensively we had too many holes...Hopefully we can get everybody back healthy next week and will be ready to go."
Brown concluded his night's work rushing the pigskin 15 times for 133 yards, while catching 4 passes for 62 yards. Diggs carried the mail 16 times for 81 yards.
Mount View will close out its season next Friday at Grundy.
Mount View.............................0 8 8 8 — 24
Westside...............................22 32 0 8 — 62
WS: Michael Mullens 10 yd pass from Justin Cogar (Dylan Newsome PAT run) 10:03
WS: Cogar 7 yd run (PAT run failed) 7:46
WS: Mullens 16 yd run (Cogar PAT run) 4:38
WS: Corey Bowles 2 yd pass from Cogar (Levi Lambert PAT pass from Cogar) 11:55
MV: Juwan Diggs 84 yd kickoff return (Maurice Brown PAT run) 11:37
WS: Cogar 44 yd run (Hunter Walker PAT pass from Cogar) 10:43
WS: Cogar 1 yd run (Lambert PAT pass from Cogar) 2:59
WS: Newsome 3 yd pass from Cogar (Mullens PAT run) 0:15
MV: Brown 25 yd pass from Chris Muncy (Brown PAT run) 6:28
WS: Nick Elswick 57 yd run (Zack Bailey PAT run) 5:26
MV: Brown 9 yd run (Brown PAT pass from Muncy) 2:15