Westerville South football coach Matthew Christ admitted ripping into his team after a sloppy first half Oct. 17 against rival Westerville North in which the Wildcats allowed two defensive touchdowns and committed nine penalties for 90 yards.
“I told them to stop speaking to the officials and to North. I haven’t seen us commit that many personal fouls in a long time,” Christ said. “We killed ourselves with a blocked punt and two defensive touchdowns. Our sense of urgency had to be there. We couldn’t keep screwing up.”
Whatever Christ said seemed to have worked, as the Wildcats played in the second half much like the team that got off to a 4-0 start.
Standout running back Michael Mansaray capped his comeback from a high left ankle sprain that sidelined him for most of the past three games by scoring touchdowns on three consecutive drives in the second half to help South pull away to a 49-21 win over North, its 13th win in a row against the Warriors.
Mansaray rushed for 121 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, scoring from 9, 9 and 1 yards to make it a three-touchdown game moments into the fourth quarter.
“The inside run was huge for us. Our offensive line was able to get a hard push and I could make the cuts I needed to score. Our receivers made some big-time catches,” said Mansaray, who was injured during a Week 5 loss to Reynoldsburg and barely had played since. “This is my first game really back. This feels great, and I never lost to North.”
South outscored North 28-0 in the second half to break a three-game losing streak and improve to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
Jesse DeVore caught three passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns and Jaelon Gordon returned an interception 60 yards for a score in the second quarter.
The Warriors got fumble recoveries for touchdowns from Sylvester Bockarie less than 90 seconds into the game and Charles Perkins with 3 minutes, 51 seconds left in the first half to tie the game at 21.
Maximus Plaxico ran for 99 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries for North, which dropped to 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Buckeye.
“We couldn’t sustain drives and then we gave up a couple big plays,” Warriors coach Bryan Johnson said. “They have tons of athletes over there. They wore us down, and unfortunately that’s been a common theme for us.”
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final WESTERVILLE NORTH 14 7 0 0 21 WESTERVILLE SOUTH
7 14 14 14 49
WN—Bockarie fumble recovery in end zone (Dixon kick)
WS—DeVore 25 pass from White (Bame kick)
WN—Plaxico 1 run (Dixon kick)
WS—Gordon 60 interception return (kick blocked)
WS—DeVore 26 pass from White (White pass to DeVore)
WN—Char. Perkins 4 fumble return (Dixon kick)
WS—Mansaray 9 run (pass failed)
WS—Mansaray 9 run (White pass to Saunders)
WS—Mansaray 1 run (Bame kick)
WS—Gore 2 run (Bame kick)