WEST LAFAYETTE — Heading into Friday’s Class 3A Sectional 28 semifinal against West Lafayette, Western coach Nate Andrews felt the Red Devils brought “a complete package.”
West Side showed why early and often.
The No. 6-ranked Red Devils held the No. 8 Panthers to 77 yards and three first downs in the first half on their way to building a 27-0 lead with a balanced, high-octane offensive attack before coasting to a 34-7 win at Gordon Straley Field.
“They’re an up-tempo offense, big up front and fast on the edge,” Andrews said. “They have dynamic playmakers, and are pretty physical on defense. That’s what I mean by the total package.”
WL limited Western’s ground attack to 66 yards on 22 carries in the first half, while its offense churned out 254 yards (101 rushing, 153 passing) and four scores in the same span.
The Panthers drove into West Lafayette territory once in the first half, reaching the Red Devil 48 on their second drive of the game before it stalled out.
“Our defense was incredible,” West Lafayette coach Shane Fry said. “They were gap sound. [Western is] a good option football team. Their quarterback [Drew Bellus] is a load at 215 [pounds], and our defensive ends don’t weigh 215. They did a great job with assignment football. In the past, we’d see option every other week. But this year we haven’t seen that much option. So, our defense came to play and it was a good team effort.”
After Western went three-and-out on the first series of the contest, WL set the tone with a 10-play, 65-yard drive that tailback Maurice Woodard capped with a four-yard TD plunge with 6:50 to play in the first quarter. Woodard finished the night with 130 yards on 26 carries, including 15 for 80 in the first half.
The Red Devils (10-1) continued to eat clock on their second drive, covering 78 yards in 16 plays with Ronchetto finishing it with a four-yard TD run with 11:38 to play in the half.