WESTON RANCH – It took Gary Norwood 18 seconds to erase a perfect Weston Ranch defensive first half. Returning the second half kickoff 91 yards and erasing a 6-0 Tokay deficit and erasing the Tigers’ deficit for good.
The return instantly sparked Tokay, giving the Tigers control of the contest and forcing Weston Ranch into a more aggressive role in a 28-6 win.
The Cougars dominated the contest early, running 17 of the first 20 plays from scrimmage.
That changed in the second half.
“The intensity level was the difference,” Cougars Kenny Williams said of the second half. “We did not come out to play in that second half and they did; it’s as simple as that.
“We knew they were going to come out riled up, but we just didn’t come out and play.”
The Tigers refused to relinquish control of the momentum, striking again on the heels of another Norwood spark. The senior return specialist struck on punt return, returning a punt 25 yards to the Cougars’ 23 and setting up Tokay’s second score.
The same early effort Weston Ranch had defensively was present in the second half, but handing Tokay consecutive possessions in their own territory turned a 6-0 lead into a 21-6 deficit in less than a quarter.
“We knew we shot ourselves in the foot that first half,” Tokay head coach Louis Franklin said. “Not lining up correctly on that big touchdown, dropping a touchdown; those are the things we talked about. We were OK.
“We know we work hard so we feel like we can be better in that second half.”
Weston Ranch only surrendered 160 yards of total offense, the majority of which came through the services of full back Bryson Schreiner (17 carries, 78 yards), but didn’t help its cause with untimely personal fouls and drive-extending fourth down penalties.
Offensively, the Cougars definitely have strides to make. They held a commitment to the ground game, but could only muster 59 yards on 35 attempts. The passing game showed some potential, yet the Cougars were only able to convert on one third-down attempt through the air.
“I thought we played two quarters good enough to be in the lead,” Cougars head coach Mike Hale said. “But they made some adjustments and we just didn’t catch on. They had the quick strike with the kickoff and that kind of elevated them.”