Information by Roger Jester
Photos by Melissa Adams
Born to run.
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen earned the nickname the ‘Boss’ for his ability to take control of situations, no matter how pressure filled.
There is definitely pressure on the young men who play high school football, especially as they work their way through the lose-and-done postseason tournament.
West Jefferson showed Northmor that they were the boss of the gridiron by tallying seven rushing touchdowns on the way to a 63-13 drubbing of the visiting Golden Knights in the second round of the playoffs Saturday. Hayden Salyer led the way by scoring three first quarter touchdowns.
With the victory, the Roughriders advance to the Regional Final next Saturday against Fairland (who defeated Worthington Christian). The location will be determined tomorrow.
Coming in to the game, it was Northmor who was supposed to dominate on the ground, led by star running back Max Lower. But it was the WJ defense who was on fire and neutralized the tough Golden Knight runner. Early on, big plays by Canyon Schneider, Michael Pettry, Anthony Holder and others seemed to surprise the usually-successful, run heavy offense of the visitors.
West Jeff’s first possession was a passing clinic by Roughrider QB Tyler Buescher as he connected with MJ Book and Adam Fry for six completions for 77 yards in the opening drive. It culminated with Salyers taking it in from the five for his first TD on the night.
After a three-and-out by the Golden Knights, Buescher had two more completions and Salyers had a pair of runs (the second a seven yard touchdown) in a short four-play scoring drive.
Again, the Roughrider defense stood tall in their hometown, and forced yet another chorus line (one, two, three, kick) series by Northmor.
Getting the ball for the third time in the first quarter, Salyers again was dancing in the dark all the way to the end zone for the third time in showing the Golden Knights who’s the boss.
WJ had surprised everyone with an onside kick, but unfortunately gave it right back with a turnover. Northmor, however, was the perfect guest as they returned the favor a couple plays later, giving the ball right back to the Roughriders.
Buescher continued with the hot hand by connecting with Book and Ethan Hostetler on double digit completions. Salyer followed with a strong 23 yard run off of the left side. Salyer let teammate Spencer George join in the rushing TD fun as he took it in from short distance and a 28-0 lead less than two minutes in to the second quarter.
On the next WJ possession, the Roughriders decided to stay in the air only as Buescher was three-for-three on completions, the final an eight yard scoring strike to a leaping Book in the end zone.
In the remainder of the first half, West Jefferson scored twice more (Weston Kimley rush TD and a Fry kickoff return) while Northmor got on the board on a Marcus Cortez to Trenton Ramos touchdown connection. WJ led at the break 49-6.
Due to the large lead West Jeff had at the break, the second half was managed by a running clock. To finish out the scoring, the Roughriders had TD’s on the ground by George and Owen Carsey, while Northmor tallied another Cortez to Ramos touchdown.
A bonus for the Roughriders was that kicker Mason Cordetti was a perfect nine-for-nine on extra points.
The Roughriders will hit the road next week to continue their playoff run.