Its offense shut down all night, the Western High School football team got big plays from its defense and special teams to capture a fourth straight district championship.
Dion Sutton’s interception set up a second-quarter touchdown, and Donald Moore returned the second-half kickoff for a score as the host Warriors beat Doss 13-6 on Friday for the Class 4-A, District Four regular-season title.
Western (4-5) finished with just 44 total yards and three first downs but still won for the fourth time in five games after an 0-4 start.
“When we started 0-4 I was like, ‘Oh, my God, they’re going to fire me next year,’ ” first-year coach Torrey Shinholster said. “But my administration supports me … and it was big to get the pressure off my chest and win another district title.”
Western will close the regular season at Eastern next week, then host Waggener in a first-round Class 4-A playoff game in two weeks.
Doss (4-5) finished second in the district and will host North Oldham in a first-round game in two weeks.
The Dragons led 6-0 early but finished with four turnovers and zero rushing yards on 30 carries. They also were flagged nine times for 75 yards, including eight penalties in the first half.
“It was Murphy’s Law tonight; everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” coach LaKunta Farmer said. “We didn’t pull together and make it work.”
The Dragons marched downfield on the first possession of the game and took a 6-0 lead on Devonte Moffitt’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Ronnell Colbert.
Western fumbled on its second play from scrimmage, but Doss couldn’t convert — beginning a long night of offensive futility.
The Warriors finally got a break late in the second quarter when Sutton intercepted a Moffitt pass and returned it 41 yards to the Doss 11-yard line. Chiquan McCallie’s 2-yard touchdown run and Jomiko Ross’ conversion kick gave Western a 7-6 lead with 1:15 left in the half.
“It was a blessing to come back,” said Sutton, who had been suspended the previous four games for disciplinary reasons. “I feel like they needed me, and I had to step up.”
Western took control when Moore returned the second-half kickoff 53 yards for a touchdown and a 13-6 lead. It looked like an onside kick, but Farmer said his kicker simply missed the ball. Moore took advantage.
“He just grabbed it, and we were like, ‘Run!’ ” Shinholster said. “He thought about falling down, but then he took off running. Because of him, we won this game.”
Doss had a final chance to tie the score after recovering a Western fumble near midfield with less than a minute remaining. Moffitt had runs of 12 and 11 yards to move the Dragons to the Western 25, but the drive ended on a fourth-down incompletion.
Shinholster credited his defense for quieting a Doss team that had averaged 45.7 points over its previous three games.
“We preach that defense wins championships, and that’s what we’re about,” he said. “Our defense is really good and has kept us in a lot of games. … We’re peaking at the right time going into the playoffs.”
D – Ronnell Colbert 18 pass from Devonte Moffitt (run failed); W – Chiquan McCallie 2 run (Jomiko Ross kick); W – Donald Moore 53 kickoff return (kick blocked).