Western romps past Mott
Rahmaan-Yaseen makes big plays on both sides of the ball
Waterford — Calvin Brown wasn’t about to let Waterford Mott gain any momentum, cutting in front of a receiver and returning an interception 100 yards to help No. 20 Walled Lake Western to a 52-13 Lakes Valley Conference victory Friday night.
Mott (3-1, 3-1, No. 20 in New Super 20 poll) and Western (3-1, 3-0) have developed a strong rivalry in the past several years with the teams splitting the previous four meetings, including Western’s 38-7 rout in 2016 when it advanced to the Division 2 title game, and Mott avenging the loss with a 47-37 victory last year.
Walled Lake Western junior Abdur Rahmaan-Yaseen set the tempo by making a tackle and getting a pass break-up from his cornerback spot on the opening series, then scoring on a 16-yard TD reception off a pass from Sam Johnson for a 7-0 cushion.
Rahmaan-Yaseen would be an impact player all night, coming up with a 40-yard reception on the next series to set up a 41yard field goal by Aiden Jennings for a 10-0 lead late in the opening quarter.
It looked like Mott was ready to cut the deficit when Matthew Castillo found Kam Manley for 18 yards to set up a first and goal at the 9, but two plays later Castillo telegraphed a pass and Brown stepped in front of the receiver at the goal line, picked it off and sprinted down the left sideline for the TD with 10:22 left in the half for a 17-0 advantage.
“We’ve been practicing all week about that play, I just read the quarterback eyes and knew I had to make a play,” said Brown, who scored five TDs, including runs of 26, 2 and 4 yards and a 50-yard kickoff return.
Mott cut the deficit to 17-7 at halftime when Castillo found Quillen Howze for a 65-yard TD pass midway through the second quarter, but that would be as close as Mott would get.
Western dominated the third quarter to open a 38-7 lead, capitalizing on a pair of RahmaanYaseen interceptions.
First, Johnson — a Boston College commit — directed an 80-yard drive, finding RahmaanYaseen down the left sideline on the first play for 38 yards to the Mott 42, then firing a pass to Malcomb Baker for 14 yards on a fourth and 8 to set up Brown’s 26-yard TD run just two minutes into the second half.
Western would then score two more TDs in less than a minute for the 38-7 cushion with 5:34 left in the third
Rahmaan-Yaseen’s first interception gave Johnson a short field to work with at Mott’s 45 and Kevin Jackson’s 30-yard run set up Brown’s third TD, this time a 2-yard run with 6:12 left in the third.
Then, Rahmaan-Yaseen would come up with Western’s third interception, this time at Mott’s 48. Johnson quickly went up top, finding Baker for a 34yard toss down the right sideline. Johnson scored on the next play on a 14-yard option run with 5:34 left in the third.
“We had to make adjustments because we knew they had to throw the ball a lot,” RahmaanYaseen said. “He ran a hit route on the first one and I just jumped the route and picked it off. He just threw a bad ball on the second one.”
Western’s defense forced the three turnovers which turned into 21 points. And, Western slowed down Mott’s 5-foot-9, 210-pound running back Marcus Guerrero, who came in averaging 10 yards a carry.
Guerrero was limited to 20 yards on his first 11 carries before breaking loose for a 19-yard gain late in the third quarter.
Johnson took a seat on the bench after three quarters, having completed 9-of-14 for 180 yards and a TD.