By Jonathan Deal
ARDMORE — This time, West Limestone wasn’t going to lose its big halftime lead. A week after letting a two-touchdown lead slip against Haleyville, West Limestone finished Friday’s game against rival Ardmore in emphatic fashion.
The Wildcats led 28-0 at halftime and never let up in a 54-16 win at Cooper Field. West racked up 495 yards on the way to a comfortable win to close out the regular season.
“This was a lot different from last week,” said West Limestone head coach David Arnsparger. “Once we got up by that much, it was going to be hard for them to come back with the way we were scoring.”
West Limestone made sure there would be no comeback this time, scoring on every possession of the second half. If not for a fumble to start the game, West Limestone would have scored a touchdown every time it had the ball Friday.
Dillon Miller opened the scoring for West with an 86-yard touchdown run mid way through the first quarter. It was the first of several big runs from the senior running back who finished with eight carries for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Miller also threw a touchdown pass in the third quarter.
While the West offense ran wild, its defense kept Ardmore’s power running game out of the end zone until the second half. West Limestone sacked Ardmore quarterback Garrett Miller five times in the first half.
“Our defensive ends — Dillon Miller and Chayse Craig — did a good job of blitzing off the edge,” said Arnsparger.
With Ardmore unable to stop the run, West Limestone was able to take advantage its play-action passing game with big plays in the first half. Quarterback Drew Blakely was 4 for 4 for 99 yards and touchdown in the first half. The junior added a rushing touchdown from the 1-yard line to put Ardmore up 12-0 in the second quarter.
Blakely’s 28-yard touchdown to Mathew Reyer with 25 seconds until halftime gave West Limestone a commanding 28-0 lead at the break.
Ardmore put together a 12-play, 72-yard drive to start the second half capped by an 8-yard Garrett Miller touchdown run. Miller pulled Ardmore to within 34-16 on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 64-yard scramble.
Just when it looked like the Tigers might get back in the game, Tyler Mewbourn responded with a 53-yard run to put the game out of reach.
Mewbourn finished with eight carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. West Limestone freshman Nick Freeman added an 8-yard rushing score late in the game.
Garrett Miller led Ardmore with 12 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns while completing 5 of 11 pass attempts for 79 yards.
Ardmore (6-4, 4-3) travels to No. 10 Munford for a first-round playoff game next week.
West Limestone (7-3, 4-3) travels to No. 4 Oneonta (9-1, 7-0) for its first-round game.
“It was good to finish on a good note,” said Arnsparger. “We’ll have to play our best next week. Oneonta is a good football team.”