Walled Lake Western held an 8-point lead over Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division foe Waterford Mott at halftime before scoring 20 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 41-13 victory at home on Friday, Sept. 28.
The victory pulls the Warriors (4-2 overall, 3-1 in the KLAA North Division) within two wins of clinching a state playoff berth, with its annual rivalry game against Walled Lake Central next on the docket on Friday, Oct. 5.
Meanwhile, Mott (1-5, 0-4 in the KLAA North) has now lost five games in a row and will next face its rival, Waterford Kettering, on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Western had a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter after an 8-yard touchdown run by Josh Jones and a Kyle Bambard 57-yard touchdown pass to Nik Heglin.
Mott responded in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jalen Wade to cut Western’s lead to 8 after the extra point attempt was blocked.
After the Warriors countered with a 4-yard touchdown run by Malik Green to take a 21-6 lead, Dakota Kupp threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Justice Bolling and Mott trailed 21-13.
The Warriors had a chance to increase their lead just before halftime, but turned the ball over on a fumble at the Mott 5-yard line on a receiver route. The Corsairs were able to take a knee and run out the clock to keep their deficit at 8.
“Our defensive staff reviewed our base alignments and put ourselves in a better position,” Western Head Coach Mike Zdebski said. “Our kids executed well and did a great job.”
Western would then come out of the locker room with a vengeance as Jones scored on a 33-yard touchdown run, followed by a 3-yard touchdown run by Matt Carroll as the Warriors increased their lead to 21 at the end of the third quarter.
Jones then capped his stellar night with a 45-yard touchdown run, as he finished with 157 yards on seven carries along with a fumble recovery on defense.
Bambard completed 4-of-8 passes for 135 yards while Heglin had three catches for 148 yards.
Western’s defense was led by Zach Prokes with nine total tackles, while Josh Daniel had six tackles.
Josh Daniel and Tomone Jones also each had a sack for the Warriors.
“We have a wonderful defensive staff and a great group of players on the (defensive) side of the ball,” Zdebski said. “We’ve got two receivers who are as good as anyone in the conference and four halfbacks. It sure helps in the second half.”
Alex Moorer led Mott with 112 yards rushing on 16 carries while Wade had 50 yards on seven carries.
Mott’s defense was led by Brennan Schneider with 11 tackles, while Josh Payne and Chris Matthews each had three tackles and a sack. Maleek Green also had three tackles and an interception.
Now the Warriors will look to make it two wins in a row against Central on Friday.
“It will be the toughest game of the year and it’s the most meaningful in Walled Lake,” Zdebski said.