Westchester High School senior quarterback Duron Sylvester was pleased with his team’s 15-3 Western League-opening victory over Fairfax High School Friday, October 14th, but he knows it was only the beginning if the Comets are going to make a run at the league title.
Westchester (4-2, 1-0) has emerged as a potential threat for the league crown this season and the first league game, against visiting Fairfax (4-2, 0-1), was a way to test the Comet strength for a challenging league schedule.
While Sylvester said the victory over Fairfax was a “good win,” the Comets are aware that they have bigger obstacles in their path to the league title, including undefeated University High School and three-time defending league champion Venice High School.
Recently Westchester has had to deal with some tough injuries, including top senior running back Gregory Ray, who has a sprained knee but is expected to play soon.
Although the team will need to be healthy to challenge top league opponents, the Comets were able to overcome injuries in their defeat of Fairfax.
“We felt more prepared this week,” said Sylvester, who finished 13-of-25 for 183 yards passing and two interceptions.
“Our defense got some stops and held them the whole second half. We did good without Ray.”
Both teams failed to enter the end zone in the first half and went into halftime with a field goal apiece on the scoreboard.
Westchester coach David Williams said his team made some adjustments heading into the second half that helped the Comets take the lead for good.
“We had to correct our technique and minimize the holding calls on offense,” he said.
The Westchester offense went into a higher gear in the second half and relied mostly on its passing game to compensate for Ray’s absence.
Sylvester converted some big passing plays against the Lions, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to junior Darren Starks to take a 9-3 lead with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter.
“We went to the air more,” Sylvester said. “We got our passing game together.”
Fairfax continued to find trouble against the Comet defense in the second half and was forced to punt on both third-quarter drives.
Westchester took advantage as junior running back Desean Rogers brought the Comets down the field into scoring position early in the fourth quarter.
An offside penalty by Fairfax during a Comet field-goal attempt allowed Westchester to add another touchdown off a three-yard run by Rogers with 10:25 remaining in the game.
Rogers, who continued to fill in for Ray after taking over the job in the previous game, finished with 13 carries for 61 yards rushing and also had five receptions for 75 yards.
The Lions struggled with passing and could not put together any successful drives in the fourth quarter, despite picking up a fumble and an interception by Westchester.
In Westchester’s first drive of the first quarter Sylvester had six passing completions to help set up a 22-yard field goal by senior Waldo Amador for a 3-0 score.
A fumbled punt reception by Westchester late in the first quarter was recovered by Fairfax at the Comet seven-yard line, setting up the Lions’ only score of the game.
Fairfax kicker J. Hernandez evened the score at 3-3 to open the second quarter.
Fairfax running back Patrick Hill led the Lion offense with 19 carries for 79 yards rushing.
With their first league game out of the way, the Comets will next focus their attention on host Hamilton High School Friday, October 21st.
“We can’t take anyone for granted,” Williams said.
In local high school football games:
The three-time defending Western League champion Venice High School Gondoliers opened league play in dominating fashion with a 48-6 victory over host Palisades High School Friday, October 14th.
Senior running back Ken Ashley had two rushing touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Richard Ragland passed for two touchdowns in the win for Venice (5-1, 1-0).
Ragland, who finished seven-of-13 for 124 yards passing, gave the Gondos their first score on a 31-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Curtis McNeal in the first quarter.
Ashley, who finished with eight carries for 143 yards rushing, scored on touchdown runs of 39 yards and 18 yards in the second quarter.
The Gondoliers added three defensive touchdowns by Andre Jones, Shamar Thornton and Oscar Duncan to make it a 34-point second quarter for Venice.
Santa Monica High School opened Ocean League play in impressive style with a dominating 49-7 defeat of host Inglewood High School Friday, October 14th.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, who finished 11-of-13 for 95 yards passing, threw for four touchdowns in the victory to add to his school-record six passing touchdowns in the previous game.
Junior running back Louis Adeyemi also had an impressive performance, rushing 17 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings (5-1, 1-0).
The St. Bernard High School Vikings broke a 16-game losing streak to start Del Rey League play with a 21-6 victory over host Bosco Tech High School Friday, October 14th.
St. Bernard (1-5, 1-0) fell behind 6-0 at the end of the first quarter, but Viking sophomore linebacker Greg Walker returned a 74-yard interception for a touchdown and 7-6 lead in the second quarter.
The Vikings added two more touchdowns in the second half after a 19-yard run by senior Dominic Cooper and a 40-yard interception return by senior defensive back Corey Clark.
St. Monica High School continued to struggle offensively in the first game of Camino Real League play and was defeated 47-0 by La Salle High School at the St. Bernard High field Friday, October 14th.
The Mariners (1-5, 0-1) fell behind 41-0 by halftime after a 31-point second quarter by La Salle.
St. Monica has now suffered five consecutive losses since opening the season with a 22-20 victory over Bishop Montgomery High.