Patriots pull away from Blue Devils in second half to remain perfect

HOWARD —Coming off an impressive win at St. Paul in a battle of unbeatens, it took awhile for West Elk to kick things into gear in its Eight Man I-District 1 matchup against rival Sedan.

Despite leading by just two points at the intermission, the Patriots blew things open after the break. WEHS ran off 38 unanswered points to roll past the Blue Devils 48-8 last Friday at Pat Simmons Stadium.

“My hat’s off to Sedan … they really came out ready to play,” said West Elk coach Chris Haag, whose squad beat the rival Blue Devils for a fifth straight time. “I was definitely concerned after out big win last week at St. Paul how we would respond. We definitely didn’t respond well in that first half. We had key turnovers in the red zone that just killed us. I was impressed with our defense because that’s what kept us in the game. We were able to come out in that third quarter to take charge of the ball game. It ended pretty well for us. We didn’t play our best, but we were able to come out of it with the W.”

The Patriots — winners of 42 of their last 46 regular-season games dating back to the end of the 2012 season — remained on track to punch another ticket to the postseason. They remained all alone atop the District 1 standings at 3-0 while improving to 7-0 overall on the season. West Elk hits the road this Friday for another key district matchup against Marmaton Valley. The Wildcats are 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the district following last week’s 74-26 home loss to St. Paul.

Meanwhile, Sedan most likely saw any hopes of a playoff berth go down with last week’s loss as it dropped to 5-2 overall and 1-2 in the district. Although mathematically still alive for their first postseason trip since 2009, the Blue Devils must close the season strong and hope for some help, starting with this Friday’s trip to Madison. The Bulldogs are also 5-2 overall and 1-2 in district play following a 28-24 victory at Southern Coffey County.

“Our message hasn’t changed,” said Sedan coach Mick Holt. “We keep preaching to take it one game at a time. You never want to look too far down the road or you might overlook your immediate opponent. So in order to have a shot of playing 10 games, we first have to beat Madison this Friday.”

Last Friday’s contest was a bit ugly on both sides as the teams combined for two safeties, five turnovers and little offensive yardage in the first half.

Trailing 2-0 after one quarter, the Patriots grabbed a 10-2 lead in the second period following a 63-yard touchdown pass from Cade Miller to William Silvey and a defensive safety. West Elk actually had a chance to open things up a bit before halftime when things quickly took a sudden turn.

WEHS had the ball at the Sedan seven-yard line with 18.7 seconds left when Miller was picked off near the goal line. Tayte Halderman took the interception back 78 yards for a touchdown. Although the conversion failed, the Blue Devils had trimmed the margin down to two, 10-8, at the intermission.

Coming back out of the locker room for the second half, West Elk grabbed complete control of things. The Patriots scored 24 points in the third quarter, including touchdown runs of four and 31 yards by Miller and a 64-yard TD pass from Miller to Silvey. Then in the final period, the host team put things away on a 13-yard scoring run by Silvey and a 14-yard scamper into the end zone by Josh Johnson.

West Elk finished the game with 453 total yards of offense, including 252 on the ground. Silvey had a game-high 112 yards rushing on 16 carries, while Miller added 12 attempts for 105 yards. Miller also completed 5-of-10 passes for 201 yards, with Silvey on the receiving end three times for 151 yards.

Sedan played without Halderman at quarterback the entire second half due to injury. The Blue Devils were limited to just 80 total yards, including a net of two yards after the break.

(Photo credit to Lynne Miller)