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Ben Jackson Rushes for 272 Yards in West Greene Shutout 35-0

Written by: on Saturday, October 5th, 2019

 

Heading into Friday night’s Tri-County South blockbuster matchup, both the California Trojans and the West Greene Pioneers could not have been two more different teams. The Trojans, led by new coach Ed Woods, had played an extremely tough out of conference schedule, losing to Washington and Laurel and winning a close one against Beth Center. The Trojans were led by a dynamic dual threat QB with weapons all over the field. The Pioneers couldn’t have been more different. West Greene took the field Friday after playing a lion’s share of their conference matchup and sweeping all of them, giving the game a make or break for California, as they would be eliminated from winning the conference with a loss

The stage was set for WPIAL standout Ben Jackson, and in the first half, he required almost all of the Trojans attention. An outmatched California Defensive line and Linebacking corps played admirably inn the first half, limiting Jackson to just two runs over 20 yards, long runs which has been the explosive back’s bread and butter all year long. The Trojans hoped that limiting the Pioneers in the running game by stacking the box, getting quick stops and turnovers, and controlling the ball on offense would be the key to success, and for much of the first half it worked. An acrobatic Jackson run was called back for Hurdling, which gave the Trojans defense confidence later in the 2nd quarter when two Pioneers drives stalled in the Redzone, ending with a Missed FG and a Turnover on Downs.

The Trojans Offense struggled for much of the game. The Pioneers defense, which had been largely untested heading into the matchup, knew it had to stop the potent dual threat attack of Cochise Ryan, and weapons like Jaeden Zuzak, Damani Stafford, and Lucas Qualk. Zuzak went out of the game early with an injury, forcing the Trojans to use Qualk a majority of the time. The Pioneers defense shined. In the first half, West Greene would hold California to only 5 yards of offense and force two muffed punts, 2 Fumbles, 4 TFLs and 3 Sacks. The second half wouldn’t get much better either. A defensive line built of Corey Wise, Ben Jackson, Gregory Staggers and Brock Bedelion completely overpowered the Trojans line on both sides of the ball, and gave the Trojans little hope of spreading the field.

In the second half, the Pioneers blew the game open. An opening 73-yard TD run by Jackson made the score 14-0, but made the game essentially out of reach for California based on how their offense struggled to find any momentum. An early 4th quarter injury to Cochise Ryan didn’t help either, as Lucas Qualk was forced to take snaps and run the wildcat, playing right into the strength of West Greene’s defense. Late scores from Kolin Walker and a QB rollout to Wesley Whipkey ended the game, shutting out California.

Takeaways: West Greene’s defensive line held California to 0 points, an offense that put 20 on a talented Wash High line. Ed Woods gameplan was simple, in that he wanted to control the clock by running the ball steadily, however, I believe he greatly underestimated the talented West Greene defense. By rushing the QB and trying to generate the rushing attack, he ended up playing right into the Pioneers strength. The West Greene defense should be tested more against a passing team like Clairton next weekend. California should make the playoffs if Cochise Ryan and Malik Ramsey get healthy sooner rather than later, as in two weeks the Trojans welcome in a red-hot Chartiers Houston team, hungry for a playoff spot.

What’s Next?: California returns home for the final stretch of the year, with a tune-up game against Bentworth. West Greene will hit the road for what should be their toughest opponent of the year against Clairton, fortunately for the Pioneers, it will be an out of conference game that might be a preview of what West Greene will look like in November.

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