PALESTINE — The Westwood Panthers and the Elkhart Elks squared off Friday with a playoff spot on the line, and that spot was grasped tightly by the latter, who saw its second district win of the season with a score of 55-21 over the Panthers.
“We were concerned about Westwood being a big rivalry for both sides and after two tough losses in district were also worried about how our kids were going to start the game,” Elkhart coach Sam Wells said. “We had a good week of practice in preparation for the game but as coaches you always have concerns.”
Elkhart won the toss and elected to receive but it didn’t take long to find out how the Elks were going to play. Three plays after the opening kickoff, Jeffrey Wilson bounded into the end zone from 55 yards and Elkhart led 7-0 with just 10:26 to play.
Westwood was able to move the ball to midfield out of its own territory but could not finish the drive and was forced to punt. Elkhart could not manage a first down on their possession and punted the ball back to Westwood where the Panthers set up at their own 36-yard line.
The Panthers marched 66 yards to the 1-yard line highlighted by a fourth down fake punt of 28 yards by Steven Green. After a 5-yard penalty Westwood was at the six on third down but running back Steven Green fumbled and Elkhart recovered at their own 14 yard line.
“Getting inside the opponent’s 5-yard line has been a bur up under our saddle for too many weeks and we need to find a way to finish those drives,” Westwood coach Roger Mays said.
The Elks marched the next 86 yards in five plays and Jeffrey Wilson again finished the drive with a 19-yard run to make the score 14-0 with five seconds gone in the second quarter.