Times Staff Reporter
CLOVERDALE -- Coming off a six-point loss to the Kentucky Xtreme that was "exactly what the doctor ordered," the West Central Wildcats needed to have a big game against the Indiana Cutters to get its season back on track. The Wildcats certainly did that Saturday night, trouncing the Cutters 62-12.
West Central received the ball in the opening kickoff, and after four runs to open the game, quarterback Cogan Keith threw his first pass of the game to wide receiver Mike Landry -- a touchdown pass. The first Keith-to-Landry connection went for 30 yards. Kicker Logan Valentine added the extra point, to give the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
On the Cutters' following drive, the Wildcats blocked a fourth down field goal to keep their lead at seven points.
West Central's offense took over after the blocked kick, and Keith again showed off his arm. Only this time, it was wide receiver Mike Russell who caught the score.
Valentine added the extra point, and it was 14-0 Wildcats with four minutes remaining in the first.
"Cogan . . . you could tell the second he got here, he was on a mission, because the last couple games weren't his best," West Central head coach Mike Rindone said. "It wasn't all his fault, but when he came in here I think he knew exactly what he needed to do, and everybody fed off that. You can just tell, when a quarterback is in a certain zone, everybody just seems to kind of morph to him. He just did a great job."
Following the touchdown, the Wildcats pulled a trick play out of their arsenal and surprised the Cutters with an onside kick. The gamble worked for West Central as Zach Lookebill recovered the ball and regained possession for his team.
Keith led the offense down to the 3-yard line, and 41-year-old running back Mike "Butch" Auler punched the ball into the end zone. Tight end Derek Thompson had two receptions on the drive.
At the end of the second quarter, West Central led 20-0.
On West Central's next drive, Keith took his team down to the 12-yard line and threw a high pass that looked to go out the back of the end zone. However, Thompson again used his big frame and leaped up to secure the ball, frustrating the helpless defenders nearby.
"Derek Thompson, our tight end, made some great catches," Rindone said. "He's a fantastic player. He's a scary tight end. He's got the build for it and everything."
On Indiana's next drive, it was the Wildcat defense's turn to get the ball back for the home team. Starting linebacker Dan Smith intercepted the Cutters and returned the ball to Indiana's 39, but a penalty brought the ball back to West Central's own 46-yard line.
Keith then led another drive that brought the team down to Indiana's 6-yard line. Finding nobody open on a pass play, Keith took the ball in himself for another West Central touchdown. He also scored on the two-point conversion to give his team a 35-0 lead.
With just over a minute left in the half, Indiana scored its first points of the game on a long touchdown.
The Wildcats responded with a drive of their own as Keith hit Russell for another touchdown with nine seconds left in the half.
Keith finished with four touchdowns passing, as well as a pair of touchdowns rushing.
In the third quarter, Auler scored again for his second of the game.
On defense, West Central linebacker Ryan Keys picked off an Indiana pass, but the defense gave up another score to bring the game to 49-12.
In the game's fourth quarter, the Wildcats ran the clock down to end the game sooner, and scored two final touchdowns rushing before calling it quits for the night.
"The last two weeks the guys have worked really hard at getting back to basics and getting back to being focused and doing the right things, and you can see by the score tonight -- because (Indiana) was a good team," Rindone said.
West Central's next game is July 28 against the Indianapolis Destroyers. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Rose-Hulman.