By Hayden Tucker
It was the Will Haas and Tyler Kelly show in Southwest Covenant’s playoff win over Sasakwa.
The young players were asked to step up in Trevor Kelly’s (hip soreness) absence and they delivered.
The Patriots (10-0, 1-0) defeated the Vikings (5-6, 0-1) 48-0 by halftime, causing for a mercy rule. The frigid temperatures Friday night didn’t stop the home team from taking care of business.
“That’s the main battle,” coach Trey Cloud said. “Yeah it’s cold, a lot of kids don’t want to be here right now but I told them I don’t care what the temperature is, I don’t care where we’re playing. When we’re on the field, we’re playing football.”
Southwest Covenant gained momentum right from the onset.
Will Haas got his first of three touchdowns on an 89-yard kickoff return. From there, it was all Patriots.
After kicking off to their opponent, Southwest Covenant swiftly returned back to offense where they would score again. Tyler Kelly put his name on the scoreboard with an 80-yard TD run. Logan Shields would miss his only point-after-touchdown in the game, resulting in a 13-0 score with 9:48 to go in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, Ben Webb connected with Will Haas for a 16-yard receiving touchdown.
On their next defensive possession, Ben Webb intercepted the Sasakwa quarterback for a six-yard pick six with 4:29 left in the first period. The Patriots have unique versatility in that their offensive playmaker can make big plays on the other side of the ball as well.
“His brother was the same way,” Cloud said. “I almost have to tell them to calm down a little bit to protect themselves. That’s just natural with them. He’s good, it’s huge.”
Tyler Kelly closed out the first quarter scoring with an 18-yard rushing touchdown. The Patriots led 34-0 at the de-facto half time break.
Southwest Covenant inched closer to the 45-point mercy rule score when Tyler Kelly found his way into the end zone for the final time in the game. Kelly’s nine-yard run gave the Patriots a 41-0 lead with 9:19 remaining in the first half.
Later, with 6:12 remaining in the second, Southwest Covenant found themselves in a fourth and long situation. The Patriots opted to kick a 25-yard field goal. Logan Shields missed the kick right.
Cloud said he went for three points because they were confidence in their offense.
“I felt like I had enough time to score again,” he said. “Even if we got the ball back, I felt like we had enough time to score again.”
With under two minutes remaining in the second quarter, Ben Webb connected with Will Haas on a 40-yard pass creating a 48-0 deficit for their opponents. Sasakwa got the ball back and ran out the clock.
Tyler Kelly finished the game with 161 yards and three TD’s on seven rushing attempts. Will Haas’s two catches both resulted in touchdowns, he had 56 yards receiving.
As a team the Patriots collected 330 yards on offense with 224 coming on the ground and 106 through the air.
Southwest Covenant’s defense was stifling their opponent all night.
The Vikings ended the game tallying a mere six yards of total offense. Sasakwa was able to find 33 passing yards but their -27 rushing yards hindered their overall production.
Quarterback pressure was a point of emphasis in practice last week, it paid off on the field Friday.
“That’s what we worked on all week,” said Cloud. “Just trying to get to him. That’s the easiest way to stop the pass, get to the quarterback. They did well. Blake did a great job, Jesse Deason as well.”
The Patriots shut out their first round playoff opponent despite being down two defensive players in Trevor Kelly and Cole Shaw. With the two out, Shields was able to get experience in on defense.
“All it does is, Logan Shields got in here and he hasn’t played much receiver or DB for us and he got good reps so if something does happen, he’s ready to go. That’s huge,” Cloud said.
Southwest Covenant will play Tyrone this Friday at home in an effort to keep their playoff run alive.