Walled Lake Western grabbed bragging rights from Walled Lake Central for a second straight year by storming the Vikings’ ship and taking no prisoners.
The Warriors demolished Central, 52-14, on the road on Friday, Oct. 5 to move within one win of clinching a state playoff berth for a third straight season.
“It started up front with the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Our quarterback (Kyle Bambard) had no pressure at all and that allowed him to throw the ball the way he did,” Western Head Coach Mike Zdebski said. “Defensively, we didn’t allow (Central’s) fullback or quarterback to run the ball and when you take them out of the equation, they have no options.”
The Warriors moved to 5-2 on the season and finished Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division play with a 4-1 record, good for second-place.
Meanwhile, Central (3-4, 2-3 in the KLAA North) is on the ropes as it now must win its final two games to finish the regular season with five victories and then hope to qualify on state playoff points.
Western’s Josh Jones continued his strong play as he scored on an 81-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for a 7-0 Warriors’ lead.
In the second quarter, Bambard turned up the heat as he threw a 71-touchdown pass to Nik Heglin and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jake Neracher.
Bambard then kicked a 40-yard field goal to send the Warriors into the locker room with a 24-0 halftime advantage.
Jones then took over in the third quarter by taking the opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown before scoring again on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Bambard then connected with Heglin for a second time on a 37-yard touchdown pass before throwing a second touchdown pass to Neracher on a 36-yard strike.
Central’s standout running back Zac Goor scored on touchdown runs of 12 yards and 8 yards to end the Vikings’ scoring drought.
Goor led Central with 103 yards rushing in the defeat.
Meanwhile, Bambard completed 10-of-16 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns and also had 97 yards rushing for Western, while Jones also had 125 yards rushing on eight carries.
“It’s good for our momentum and confidence. Our kids are doing things that we didn’t do in the first half of the year like catching and taking care of the ball, along with better assignments and blocking,” Zdebski said.
The Warriors will next travel to Grand Blanc to face the Bobcats in a KLAA crossover game on Friday, Oct. 12, with a state playoff berth on the line.
The Bobcats (4-3) are coming off a 34-22 defeat at Hartland on Friday, denying them their second straight KLAA West Division title.
However, Grand Blanc has a dangerous quarterback in Bart Williams, who has thrown 12 touchdown passes in his last three games.
“In the Bobcats’ three losses, their opponents have a combined record of 20-1,” Zdebski said. “They won’t let you run the ball. Offensively, they throw the ball well, their receivers are tall, and the linemen are big and protect the quarterback.”
Meanwhile, the Vikings will head up to Pinckney to take on the Pirates (3-4) on Friday.