Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Charles West Does Back Flips for Victory over Howell

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Charles West Does Back Flips for Victory over Howell

Article excerpt

The St. Charles West High football team pulled out all the stops Friday night.

Banged up and without five key players, the Warriors opened it up and breezed to 48-14 victory at Francis Howell.

"We were due; they'd shellacked us pretty good the last five times we've met," West coach Steve Stahl said. "I guess you could say we owed them this one.

"Our backs were to the wall tonight. We were the underdogs and our players responded with an outstanding effort."

The victory improved unranked West to 3-1 overall and to 2-0 in Gateway Athletic Conference play. Defending league champion Howell, ranked No. 14 among area large schools, fell to 3-1 and 1-1.

West set the tone early, using a trick play to open the scoring on its first play from scrimmage. From the Howell 41, Brandon Jett went in motion to the right and proceeded to do a cartwheel followed by a series of back flips.

His antics caught the attention of the Howell defense as junior Jeff Ford took a quick pitch left, broke a couple of tackles and raced 41 yards for a touchdown.

"It's a play we saw on Channel 5 a few years ago," Stahl explained. "It was run by a team in some other part of the country. We've had it in the back of our minds for years, but Brandon's the first player we've had who could successfully do the back flips. We worked on it in practice this week and planned to use it if the right situation came up. But, believe me, it's not going to become a staple of our offense."

The Warriors, who traditionally run a conservative wishbone attack, opened it up against Howell and produced a number of big-play touchdowns:

Ford, who moved from fullback to tailback because of injuries to Adrian Beard and Rod Branson, rushed 10 times for 151 yards. He hauled in a 20-yard scoring pass in the second quarter and also had 68-yard scoring run on West's first play from scrimmage in the second half. In addition to his three touchdowns, he kicked two extra points and ran two others in.

Junior John Ferguson, a replacement for injured quarterback Brad Prost, threw four touchdown passes - a 10-yarder to Scott Swindler, a 20-yarder to Ford and 23- and 70-yarders to Reggie Blanchard. Ferguson was seven for seven for 213 yards.

Jett, a senior who didn't play football last year, turned in a solid game on offense and defense. He also returned a second-quarter kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown.

"Big kickoff returns always produce a big momentum swing," said Stahl, whose team scored on its first four possessions of the first half and on three of its first four in the second. "But it wasn't just one or two plays tonight; it was a great team effort. With all the injuries, we're counting on a smaller group of guys to do the job now. And most of those guys are juniors. But tonight, they responded with some tremendous efforts.

"We certainly rose to the occasion."

Howell scored on an 83-yard pass from Ryan Edwards to Aaron Wayne Oakley in the second quarter and on a 3-yard run by Chris Lovelady in the third. …

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