Walled Lake Western made a fashion and social statement by wearing pink uniforms to benefit cancer research, then made a football statement on its home field by routing a winless Waterford Kettering on Friday, Sept. 21.
The Warriors upended the Captains, 41-2, to move to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division, while Kettering (0-5, 0-3) has now lost 17 straight games.
The victory was a perfect cap to a day in which Western held its Warriors’ Survivor parade into Warriors’ Stadium before the game, which was dubbed the “Warriors for Warriors Pink Out.”
Proceeds from donations, sponsorships of the pink jerseys and the sale of T-shirts will benefit The Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure; the St. Baldrick’s Foundation; and the National Football League’s A Crucial Catch program in association with the American Cancer Society.
Taking part in the coin toss was honorary captain Jacob Presta, an 8-year old Commerce Elementary student who is fighting a very rare, aggressive Thalamic brain tumor.
“Our players really took that to heart. We have a group that’s going to raise between $50,000 to $100,000 for research. This affects everyone, man and woman, and it doesn’t matter your race or religion,” said Western Head Coach Mike Zdebski. “Last year, half of our building was in pink, and this year it was 95 percent. Banks and Commerce Elementary got in on it too and it’s going to continue growing. This is the biggest event of its kind on the east side of the state.”
Western wasted little time in honoring Presta and other survivors on the very first play from scrimmage, as quarterback Kyle Bambard rushed for a 63-yard touchdown. After the Warriors surrendered a safety to Kettering, Bambard struck again by scoring on a 17-yard touchdown run to put the Warriors up 14-2 in the first quarter.
That score would stand at halftime, as the second quarter was scoreless.
In the third quarter, Western would start to pour it on as Malik Green scored on a 29-yard touchdown run before the Warriors were then credited with a safety.
Josh Jones then followed with a 37-yard touchdown run before James LaLonde scored on a 30-yard touchdown run and the Warriors led 35-2 at the end of the third quarter.
David Walczyk capped Western’s scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, as Western extended its winning streak over Kettering to nine games.
The Captains were coming off strong performances over Walled Lake Central and Huron Valley Lakeland the previous two weeks.
“We were nervous watching (Kettering) on film, because they’ve been moving the ball up and down on everybody,” Zdebski said. “I think our defensive staff had our players well prepared and they were able to anticipate the play selection. Our offensive and defensive lines allowed us to execute the way we did.”
Bambard led the Warriors with 153 yards rushing on 15 carries. Jones had 89 yards rushing on 9 carries and Green had 52 yards rushing on 4 carries.
Ethan Vieaux led Western’s defense with 8 total tackles on the night, while John Simmons, Ben Ruby and Tomone Jones each had 4.
Jones and Joel Lewis also each had a sack, while Simmons also had an interception.
The Warriors will next host Waterford Mott on Friday, Sept. 28, while Kettering will head home to welcome first-place Walled Lake Northern that same night.
“The only thing we can focus on is the state playoffs. There’s no room for error and we can only focus on the game at hand,” Zdebski said.