Before Friday night's Class C South high school football matchup between Southwestern and Westfield, it would have been very difficult to find a person who felt the Wolverines had a snowball's chance in hell of knocking off the mighty Trojans.
Heck, after Westfield coach Bob North watched his team fall to Allegany-Limestone in Week 1, even he was hard pressed to pick his team.
"When I was in the locker room before the game, I said the only people who believe we can win are the ones in this locker room," North said. "After the first week, I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought we were out of shape and gave up. We played four quarters of intense football Friday. If we do that, we can play with anybody in our league."
Photo by Scott Kindberg
Westfield coach Bob North celebrates with Nolan Hunt in the waning seconds of Friday's Class C South football game at Charles A. Lawson Field. The Wolverines blanked Southwestern, 27-0.
Westfield won Friday's game at the line of scrimmage - both offensively and defensively. Offensively, it was the running of Mike Okerlund which proved to be the difference.
"At halftime our kids said, 'We can run the football,'" North recalled. "I haven't heard them say that in forever. We pounded the football in the second half. We dominated. We ran the same play over and over again. It was just a simple lead and we moved them off the ball. Our fullback Cameron Wright was taking on their linebacker and Mike Okerlund just ran with it. He has all the potential in the world. He is big, fast and strong."
Okerlund is learning from one of the finest this area has to offer this season as Jehuu Caulcrick is an assistant coach for Westfield. Caulcrick, who had an outstanding high school career at Clymer, went on to play for Michigan State and was on the practice squad for the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills.
"I think he has been a great help to all the kids," North said. "He does running back drills he learned at Michigan State and at the pros. The kids want to perform for a kid like that. Mike put on a show Friday and I think having Jehuu there is huge for the kids. They want to impress him and they did."
Defensively, the line was anchored by Nick Bausum and Jordan Ellis while Dan Ferguson was a ball hawk all game.
"If you shut out Southwestern you did something right," North said. "They have as many sets and plays as any high school team you will see. It was one of those nights where everything clicked. It was really fun."
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When the final seconds ticked off the clock Friday night, North gathered his team and told them just how big of a win they just pulled off.
"I have been in Westfield for 28 years," North continued. "I have been around football and I know they went to Ralph Wilson Stadium, but this has to be the biggest win in our football history. Not only did we beat a team like Southwestern, we went in there and beat them where they haven't lost since 2006. If this win doesn't give them confidence, there is something wrong. We went into Southwestern and not only won, but won in dominate fashion. I was just pleased to see them play to above their potential. I haven't had that much fun on a football field in a long time."
Craig Harvey is the OBSERVER?Sports Editor.?Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org