West Jefferson High School quarterback Seth Casto knew how important the MSL-Cardinal Division football game against Grandview was.
“We’ve been preparing for this since day one,” said Casto, who threw for 254 yards. “And we probably had our best week of practice this week.”
It paid off Sept. 14 as the Roughriders defeated the host Bobcats 35-17. A year ago, Grandview scored 27 consecutive points in the second half to win 37-33 en route to a 10-1 season and the MSL-Cardinal title.
There would be no such collapse in the league opener this time.
“Our defensive effort was tremendous,” West Jefferson coach Shawn Buescher said. “I was very proud of that.”
Buescher was equally impressed with his offense, which did not always turn to Casto to move the ball. West Jefferson rushed for 187 yards.
“We want to be balanced,” said Buescher, whose team improved to 3-1 overall as the Bobcats fell to 2-2. “We truly do. I feel like we’ve been coming along with our running backs and our offensive line the last couple of weeks. We’ve relied heavily on Seth early in the year to throw the ball, but we want to become more and more balanced. We made a conscious effort to do that.”
West Jefferson took a 21-10 halftime lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Casto and two scoring runs by Jake Hatfield, who led the Roughriders with 99 yards on 17 carries.
Big plays kept the Bobcats in the game.
Peyton Jones returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown that tied the score at 7 in the first quarter, and Grandview cut its deficit to 28-17 when receiver Myshon Price and quarterback Nick Schopis hooked up for a 55-yard scoring strike.
But Grandview couldn’t match the focus of West Jefferson. The Bobcats committed seven 15-yard penalties, mirroring the mistakes it made during a 30-13 loss to East Knox on Aug. 31 when they had six turnovers and 10 penalties.
“You get a personal-foul face mask when it’s a kid trying to make a tackle — that stuff is going to happen sometimes,” Grandview coach Jason Peters said. “But we’ve got to clean up those bunch of mistakes that put us in bad positions. We just have to regroup and get our kids back focused. That starts at the top. We’ve got to do a better job of that.”
Schopis completed 14 of 26 passes for 237 yards and one interception. Price caught four passes for 139 yards.
WJ -- Casto 1 run (Golden kick)
GV -- Jones 90 kickoff return (Readey kick)
WJ -- Hatfield 7 run (kick failed)
GV -- Readey 25 FG
WJ -- Hatfield 5 run (Casto run)
WJ -- Love 17 pass from Casto (Golden kick)
GV -- Price 55 pass from Schopis (Readey kick)
WJ -- Stepp 5 run (Golden kick)