BURDEN — After a slow start to the game, the West Elk Patriots went on to cruise to a 52-6 victory over Central-Burden on Friday.

“We started the game very slow,” said Patriot coach Chris Haag. “We probably couldn’t have played any worse than we did at the start. Then I thought we started to click offensively. We put the ball in (Cade) Miller’s hands. We picked up the pace and got to the line. We eventually just wore them down.”

The Patriots head into the start of Eight-Man I-District 1 action next week perfect at 4-0 overall. WEHS will entertain Southern Coffey County in the district opener on Friday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at Pat Simmons Stadium in Howard.

“Right now, we just need to stay consistent with our approach,” said Haag, whose squad has now won 39 of its last 43 regular-season games dating back to the end of the 2012 campaign. “The last two weeks, we haven’t started out the way we’ve wanted to. When it comes to district play, each possession and each snap becomes that much more important. It’s that time of the year. If we don’t perform well, then we could be in a battle each week.”

West Elk has dominated its first four opponents this season, outscoring them by a combined score of 202-12. Yet, despite that, the Patriots struggled early on and found themselves down for the first time this season.

Central jumped ahead 6-0 just a few minutes into the contest, but West Elk quickly responded with a pair of first-quarter touchdowns. William Silvey scored on a four-yard run, and later quarterback Cade Miller found Andrew Hurt on a six-yard TD pass to give the Patriots a 14-6 lead after 12 minutes of action.

WEHS eventually blew things open before the break. The Patriots scored the next 32 points to close out the half, which included a 12-yard run by Silvey, runs of 12 and 30 yards by Miller and a 20-yard pass from Miller to Codie Cannon.

Up 46-6 at the intermission, West Elk put the game away with a four-yard run by Miller in the opening stages of the third quarter. The game was called at that point due to the eight-man mercy rule.

The Patriots finished the game with 373 total yards, including 309 on the ground by way of 30 carries. Miller had a huge game for WEHS, recording 19 attempts for 236 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed 5-of-11 passes for 64 yards.

(Photo credit to Lynne Miller)