It didn’t take long for things to get out of hand here on Friday night. It was a merciless 42-point second quarter that took the fight out of the Wolves for good and there were plenty of Bearcats hands in the mix as they locked down a 66-7 drubbing of Black Hills to open up their 2A Evergreen Conference schedule.
Max Taylor led the way for the Bearcats on both sides of the ball, accounting for three touchdowns thanks to his particularly sticky set of mittens. Lining up at the inside slot position on offense Taylor hauled in five passes on the night for 91 yards and a pair of touchdowns. On defense all he did was snag a set of interceptions. Oh, and he returned one of those picks 32-yards for a touchdown. Even when the game was out of reach and the second unit was taking most of the snaps Taylor still found himself on the field chasing down punts for good measure.
“Tonight the defense presented us with something that was putting Max in the spotlight and Josiah delivered the ball and Max caught it and made some great runs afterward. Defensively he made the right reads and he was in the right place and made the play when it needed to be made,” said W.F. West coach Dan Hill.
Taylor credited the Bearcats’ stellar performance to a diligent week of scouting and film sessions that allowed the team to play free and easy once the clock started to roll.
“It was just their linebacker coming off the edge and I was wide open on the slant. Safety was playing deep. Every single time. Wide open,” said Taylor.
Looking back on his third quarter interception that went for a score, Taylor said as soon as he saw the Wolves’ receiver tip the ball into the night sky he knew what was certain of what was going to happen next.
“I know I’m getting that pick-six. It was a great block by Isaac Revis,” Taylor said.
The Bearcats started their scoring with a 27-yard field goal by Bryce Laufenberg. By the end of the night Laufenberg had 12 points to his name thanks to nine converted extra point opportunities, and he added an interception later in the game just to prove he’s not a one trick pony.
Josiah Johnson was the next Bearcat to get in on the scoring shenanigans when he hit Taylor for a 14-yard touchdown with 1:14 left in the first quarter. Johnson would finish the game with 134 yards passing and four touchdowns on just 16 attempts. He also added 88 yards on the ground with a touchdown on just four touches.
On the first play of the second quarter Carter McCoy interjected himself into the plotline when he jumped a Black Hills pass for an interception before toting the pigskin 20-yards for a touchdown. That play signaled the beginning of a tidal wave of offense for the home team in the second frame. Johnson hit Brit Lusk for a 16-yard touchdown on the Bearcats following possession before connecting with Taylor again, this time for a 25-yard score. Jaiyden Camoza then got in on the action with a 38-yard touchdown scamper before Johnson found Leandre Gaines open on a seam route for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Black Hills then tried to run out the clock on the half, but failed, allowing W.F. West to take over near midfield with less than a minute left before intermission. Accordingly, Johnson took the first snap of that “drive’ and escaped everyone for a 45-yard touchdown run of his own.
With a running clock in play before halftime W.F. West looked poised to play possum in the second half but elected to run their starters out for one more series on each side of the ball. That tact paid dividends for the Bearcats as Camoza again got loose, this time for a 61-yard touchdown, before Taylor turned in his pick-six on the ensuing Black Hills possession to cap the W.F. West scoring for the night. Camoza finished the night with 191 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
“Jaiyden is an incredible runner. He’s got an incredible ability to see a lane and put his foot in the ground and change directions and be full speed when he does it,” said Hill. “His center of gravity is second to none. That one run he had where he put his hand on the ground, and spun sideways, and did a pirouette, and came out of it and ran for a touchdown, that’s just stuff you can’t coach.”
On the flipside Black Hills was able to generate just two first downs and exactly zero points prior to W.F. West calling off the dogs and inserting their backup defense.
The Bearcats also entered their substitutes on offense and found a bit of success with that look as well. Namely, backup quarterback Gavin Fugate completed two of three passes for 58 yards, including a 50 yard strike to Aaron Fuller against the Wolves first unit. That improbable pass had the Bearcats’ starters celebrating with an inspired series boogie down dance moves on the sideline.
“It’s just awesome, a freshman coming in and throwing a deep ball and AJ (Fuller) coming up with that ball was insane,” said Taylor.
Hill noted that his team has a self-sustaining energy on their sideline so far this year and credited it to the players’ ability to execute their gameplan with precision.
“We executed tremendous tonight. What they were doing defensively to us and what we had going on offensively, it’s what our offense is designed for. Then they didn’t make any adjustments and we kept hitting them with the same play,” explained Hill.
W.F. West (5-0, 1-0 league) will play at Rochester next Friday.