It was quite a turnaround this week for the Westminster Christian football team.
Reeling from 2 straight losses that put their playoff hopes in jeopardy, including a heartbreaking defeat to Kirkland-Hiawatha in the final minutes a week ago, the Warriors righted the ship on Saturday with an impressive 27-2 win over visiting South Beloit.
Westminster improved to 5-3 all but assuring a second straight playoff berth. There are 32 teams that qualify for the Class 1A playoffs and the Warriors entered the week in the No. 25 spot.
"The defense was absolutely phenomenal this week," Westminster coach John Davis said. "We took a look at that Kirkland tape and saw everything we were doing wrong. We were out of position that whole game. We really worked on that a lot this week. The kids did a great job of following their assignment to perfection. Proud of what these kids have accomplished. We are going to finish out the season strong next week and are looking forward to being back in the playoffs."
The Warriors' swarming defense held South Beloit (3-5) to just 131 yards of total offense with most of that coming late in the game. The Sobos had just 1 first down in the first half.
Nick Dumeras and Tyler Baker had outstanding games anchoring the defensive line while the linebacking crew of John John Davis, Jake Miller, and Spenser Feerer wreaked havoc. The Sobos were stopped behind the line of scrimmage 12 times.
"All week we schemed to lock down their wing-T offense," Miller said. "We followed what the coaches told us and it worked out great. Everybody did their job. My responsibility was to contain and watch the quarterback. You could sense they were getting frustrated as the game went on because we weren't giving up any thing."
In the defensive backfield Scotty Graziano and Xavier Brown each had a pair of interceptions.
"We ran the defense to perfection," said Brown. "We just stayed over our reads and followed our man. The coaches put us in a great position to make plays."
On the offensive side Brown got the Warriors going right out of the gate with an 82-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game. He finished with a game-high 127 yards on 9 carries.
"The O-line really stepped it up today," Brown said. "We knew after last week we needed something to ignite us right away this week. They made some great blocks on that play. There wasn't even a defender in front of me. All I had to do was run. We are feeling a lot better after this win. If we can keep this up there's no reason why we can't go deeper in the playoffs."
Will DeHaan added a 28-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 7:38 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors leaned heavily on the run early on, but that set up a perfect play action pass on the first play of their next possession. Quarterback Tannor Park hit a wide open Graziano down the near side for a 38-yard touchdown pass.
Park added a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The Warroirs rounded out their scoring with a safety in the fourth quarter when Davis sacked the South Beloit quarterback in the end zone.
The only points the Warriors surrendered came on a safety with a bad snap out of the back of the end zone on a punt attempt.