MOORE — The way Westmoore's defense played Friday night, all the Jaguars had to do offensively was be efficient, and tailback Kieron Hardrick took care of that.
Hardrick carried 16 times for 61 yards and three touchdowns and quarterback Bryson Lee threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as fifth-ranked Westmoore took advantage of five Muskogee turnovers (all in the first half) and rolled to a 48-7 win over the Roughers at Moore Schools Stadium.
Showdowns against Jenks and Broken Arrow await, but Westmoore (5-0, 2-0 District 6A-2) looked every bit like a team that could contend for a district title. But the Jaguars don't want to get ahead of themselves.
“We're always thinking about (Jenks and Broken Arrow), but we've got to focus on next week, not the week after that, because we've still got to take care of business,” said rising star receiver Dahu Green, who had five catches for 93 yards and two scores.
Coach Billy Langford was concerned about Westmoore's penchant for penalties. The Jaguars committed 11 for 112 yards, something he said must be cleaned up.
“We've got to do something about the penalties,” Langford said. “That's pretty much back-to-back weeks where we've just had way too many penalties. That will be a definite point of emphasis, trying to get those things corrected. Without those things, we take care of it really early.”
As bad as Westmoore's penalty total was, Muskogee's was much worse, as the Roughers finished with 20 penalties for 178 yards. Muskogee is 0-5 for the first time in the program's history and is 0-2 in district play, having earlier lost 65-10 to Broken Arrow. But coach Josh Blankenship said he still thinks the Roughers have a shot at the district's fourth playoff berth
“We had been getting better every week,” Blankenship said. “We took a step back last week. I was proud to see them come out and compete tonight. We had a lot of mistakes, obviously, and we're not playing very good football, but I'm pleased with how hard we played tonight.”
The Roughers had one shining star – senior receiver Anthony King, who caught 12 passes for 109 yards.
Thanks to one long punt return and four turnovers in the game's first 15 minutes by the Roughers, Westmoore started its first five drives at the Muskogee 25, the Muskogee 28, the Muskogee 23, the Muskogee 46 and the Muskogee 7. Twice the Roughers held on downs, but Westmoore eventually started rolling.
After an interception by Austin Freeman, Hardrick scored on a 1-yard run on the Jaguars' opening possession. It was still 7-0 after one quarter before the floodgates opened. Westmoore's Denver Beebe recovered a fumble by Muskogee quarterback Quintahj Cherry at the Roughers' 7, leading to another 1-yard scoring run by Hardrick.
Lee, who completed 13 of 19 passes for 207 yards, hit Green for gains of 31 and 8 yards on the Jaguars' next drive, the latter going for a touchdown that made it 20-0. After a Muskogee punt, Westmoore's Jake Dyer – while falling down – caught a tipped pass from Lee for a 35-yard gain and Hardrick soon followed with a 27-yard touchdown run.
Jaylen Bennett returned an interception 35 yards for another touchdown for the Jaguars with 46 seconds left before halftime.
“They've had a good few weeks here as far as getting turnovers,” Langford said of the Jaguars' defense. “I hope they continue that. Our offense likes it. We've got to cash in more when they give it to us like that, but they've done a great job. We had a good night tonight stripping. We put a pretty big emphasis on that type of stuff. … It's good to see it pay off.”
Green caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Lee in the third quarter and Lee added a 3-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter. Muskogee avoided a shutout with an 82-yard scoring drive in the final minutes, with Cherry scoring on a 7-yard run.