Westminster Christian defeats Mooseheart

By Darryl Mellema
Daily Herald Correspondent

With only 19 players on its roster, Westminster Christian has difficulty getting its athletes the sort of practice repetitions needed to fully prepare for a varsity football game.

Fortunately, many of the key Warriors have plenty of experience and know to prepare for a season. Friday Westminster Christian, facing Mooseheart in the opening game of the season, jumped to a 28-0 lead and coasted to a 49-12 victory. The game ended with 6:30 left in the fourth quarter when lightning was spotted. Given the disparity on the scoreboard and the fact that the blowout running clock rule had been in effect since the midpoint of the third quarter, the schools agreed to end the contest.

The Warriors were dominant early, scoring, forcing turnovers and stopping the Ramblers when they had the ball. By halftime, the score was 42-6.

"We've got ballhandlers who can make plays," Westminster Christian coach John Davis said. "Our quarterback, Tannor Park, did a phenomenal job."

Park was 9-for-10 passing for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns. The senior added 97 rushing yards on 8 carries.

Scotty Graziano caught 3 touchdown passes in the contest, 2 from Park and one from backup quarterback Sam Huguley.

"He's a machine," Davis said. "He's the best receiver in the area."

Davis said his team was tired at halftime from the speed of the contest, which it is impossible to replicate in practice. Mooseheart, with 23 roster players, was suffering similarly, which was a factor in the decision to end the game when lightning was spotted.

"The safety of the kids trumps everything," Davis said. We were beat up and the other team was beat up. It was the best thing for everyone."

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Coming off an 0-9 season in 2015, Mooseheart struggled in its home opener, but had some bright spots. One was quarterback Tarry Johnson, who scored both his team's touchdowns, one on a 35-yard run and on a 17-yard run that ended up being the last play of the contest.

"We've got some work to do," Mooseheart coach Jacob Pekofske said. "It's a work in progress at all times. Monday will come, we'll watch some film and we'll learn from it."

Another bright spot for the Ramblers was the fact that they kept working to reduce the deficit, culminating in Johnson's TD just before the players were forced from the field.

"We've got to take this one with a grain of salt," Pekofske said. "We're trying to change the culture after last season. We're going to learn from this and move forward and get ready for the next one."

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