By MIKE HOLDER
Westwood was itching to get back on the field after their loss to Mineola last week, and the kids came ready to play.
It just took a little more time to make sure it was going to happen.
Quarterback Ryan Cernoch scored the winning touchdown in the first overtime from five yards out after the Panthers defense stiffened to keep the Red Devils out of the end zone. Westwood coach Roger Mays said he was thrilled about the victory.
“It is a relief and it’s a tremendous character builder for our kids,” Mays said. “We knew we were young and we came out and proved that last week letting the big lights get in our eyes. Tonight we had to battle through a lot of adversity, and our defense is not where we need it to be obviously, but our offense stepped up and found their groove.”
Some players that Mays said stepped up included one player in particular for the Panthers.
“I have to give hats off to our offensive line and especially Korbin Boles who did a tremendous job on the football field,” Mays said. “Peter Calhoun, DJ Hicks and our whole offense did a great job, and I’m proud of them.”
Cernoch started the scoring with a 24-yard pass to DJ Hicks in the first quarter to make it 6-0. After a Westwood stop by the Panther defense, the offense drove 70 yards with Trey Jenkins finishing the last 8 yards. The kick failed and Westwood led 12-0.
Huntington, after long kickoff return, set up shop at the Panther 25-yard line. Jeremiah Robertson scored from one yard out shortly thereafter. The run for two was good by Jamichael Brown to make the score 12-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Newcomer Peter Calhoun then responded with an electrifying 61-yard run to make the score 18-8. Cernoch’s pass to Destry Friedman moved the score to 20-8.
Huntington’s Robertson scored again from five yards out with 5:11 remaining in the second quarter, but both teams were not done. Westwood and Huntington each scored again in the last minute to make the halftime score 28-22.
In the third quarter, Huntington and Westwood each scored two touchdowns to bring the third quarter score to 42-34. One of those touchdowns by Westwood was an 80-yard kickoff return after a Huntington score.
The fourth quarter started with Jamichael Brown running in from 31 yards to tie the score at 42. Westwood responded with a 56-yard touchdown from Peter Calhoun who finished with 235 yards rushing on 19 carries to go up 48-42.
Huntington tied it up with 4:31 to go in the game on a 31-yard run from Robertson. Westwood could not score in the last four minutes, and the game went into overtime at 48-48. The Westwood defense shined by stopping Huntington from the 25-yard line and then set up the thrilling win for the Westwood Panthers.