Walled Lake Western remained undefeated and clinched a berth in the state playoffs with a 34-13 victory on the road over Waterford Mott on Friday, Sept. 30.
The Warriors led 20-7 at halftime before pulling away in the second half by outscoring the Corsairs 14-6.
Western remains tied with Walled Lake Central, which also won last Friday, for first-place in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division and will play in the state playoffs for the second consecutive season.
The Warriors (6-0 overall, 4-0 in the KLAA North) will host the rival Vikings tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 6 for their annual matchup, as the KLAA North title will come down to the two Walled Lake schools for the second year in a row.
Western has lost two straight meetings with Central, including last season’s 40-7 drubbing in which both teams came in with undefeated division records, but it was Central who came away with its second straight KLAA North title.
“We have lots of areas we need to improve on, especially penalties and turnovers. Defensively, it’s just making tackles in space,” said Western Head Coach Mike Zdebski.
Against Mott, Brent Zdebski finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns in addition to 7 total tackles on defense.
Alex Buchanan had 99 yards rushing on 6 carries for the Warriors, who gained all 363 of their yards on the ground.
“It all starts with our offensive line. When they play well, that’s when we’re at our best,” Coach Zdebski said.
Joshua Jones also had an interception for Western.
Western was called for 10 penalties for 90 yards compared to five Mott penalties for 42 yards.
Mott’s freshman quarterback Dakota Kupp completed 9-of-21 passes for 135 yards and threw two touchdown passes to Justice Bolling.
The Corsairs (0-6, 0-4) had only 14 yards rushing on the evening, as their losing streak has now reached 21 games.
Brent Zdebski scored Western’s first touchdown on a 14-yard run with 8 seconds left in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead before Western fumbled on the extra-point attempt.
But Mott would respond two plays later, as Kupp threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Bolling and Mott had a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter after the extra point.
Western would then respond on its next drive, as Buchanan capped an 80-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run and the Warriors took a 13-7 lead.
Western’s special teams then stepped up as the Warriors blocked a punt on Mott’s next drive and took over at the Corsairs’ 25-yard line.
Two plays later, C.J. McGorisk scored on a 10-yard touchdown run and Western had a 20-7 lead going in to halftime.
After forcing a Mott punt to start the third quarter, Western started its first drive of the second half at its own 45-yard line. Brent Zdebski would eventually score his second touchdown of the night on a 17-yard run for a 27-7 Western advantage.
After another Mott punt, Brent Zdebski then lost a fumble before Kupp threw his second touchdown of the night to Bolling, this time from 10 yards out, to cut Western’s lead to 27-13 in the fourth quarter.
But Western would answer with a 74-yard drive that ended with Connor Ruby’s 6-yard touchdown run to cap Western’s scoring.
While Western faces Central on Thursday, Mott will travel to face its rival, Waterford Kettering, on Saturday, Oct. 8 for an afternoon showdown.