It was a little bit of a frustrating opening half for the Pirates, but they certainly took care of business in the third quarter.

West Side scored 14 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter en route to a 22-0 victory over Ririe in the opening round of the 2A state tournament on Friday night in Dayton. The Pirates (8-1) also shut out the Bulldogs (5-4) at home earlier this season, 18-0.

Josh Reeder lost a couple of fumbles in the second quarter for the Pirates, but made up for it in a huge way by returning the opening kickoff of the second half 99 yards to the house. That set the tone in West Side’s fourth shutout of the 2019 campaign.

“Yeah, the third quarter’s been good to us; we’ve had great third quarters all year, so we’ve got to figure out how to get off to a better start in the first half and play better there,” WS head coach Tyson Moser said. “But the kickoff return was huge for us. It gave us a little bit of breathing room, and then we came right back a few minutes later with a good offensive touchdown.”

Jaxon Moser powered his way into the end zone on a couple of short TD runs for the Pirates — one in the second quarter and the other in the third. Moser’s first TD run capped off a 90-yard drive by the hosts.

To its credit, Ririe limited a potent West Side rushing attack to 92 yards on 36 attempts. Cage Brokens had 47 of those yards on 14 carries. However, West Side quarterback Ryan Beckstead completed 6 of 10 passes for 103 yards to give his team enough of an offensive edge.

As has been the case all season long, the Pirates were outstanding defensively as they held the Bulldogs to 108 yards of total offense. West Side, winners of seven straight, has given up a measly 28 points in its last eight games.

The Pirates were especially stingy defensively after the Bulldogs recovered a pair of fumbles pretty deep in West Side territory in the second quarter.

“Yeah, it was almost the exact same thing that happened when we played (Ririe) here in Week 4,” coach Moser said. “We had those three goal-line stands and I think we had at least two (red zone stands) tonight to keep them out of the end zone. But I give Ririe credit. They had a great game plan and they executed it very well. We had a hard time getting the ball out of their hands and getting offensive possessions, but our defense did just enough to fix (our offensive problems). Ririe moved the ball better than on us than probably a lot of teams have, but our defense was able to keep them out of the end zone.”

Taze Stegelmeier had another monster performance for the West Side defense as he accumulated 18 tackles, including 4.0 for a loss. Beckstead, who recovered a fumble, and Bryler Shurtliff intercepted one pass apiece for the Pirates, who earned the No. 1 seed in the RPI for the state tourney.

SPARTANS 47, INDIANS 21

A short-handed Preston squad had no answer for Minico standout tailback Ryland Chandler in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Chandler rushed for seven touchdowns as the Spartans (8-2) rolled at home. The senior had five of those TDs and 200 yards rushing in the opening half.

Preston, which has been plagued by injuries the past few weeks, got two TD scampers from Andrew Iverson. Iverson broke a pair of tackles in his 46-yard sprint to paydirt in the second quarter and ended up gaining 161 yards on the ground.

Ty Hyde accounted for the Indians’ other TD on a 14-yard quarterback keeper in the fourth quarter. Hyde completed a well-executed 27-yard fade to Tate Greene to set up Iverson’s first scoring run.

Gordon Knapp and Cole Harris also made some nice receptions for the visitors. The Indians moved the ball pretty consistently, but ultimately were unable to capitalize on at least four drives into Spartan territory.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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