Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 23, 2012

Cole paves Keys’ way past Westville

PARK HILL — Welcome back, Cody Cole.

After sitting out the first three weeks due to academic eligibility issues, the Keys senior scored three touchdowns in the first half en route to the Cougars’ 48-18 homecoming victory over Westville (1-3, 0-1 District 3A-7) Friday night.

“He is a talented kid and you’ll see more of him,” Keys coach Gary Willis said. “He wasn’t in game shape tonight, but that was all God-given talent on display.”

Cole set the tone for the night during the game’s first series. On the fifth play, he intercepted a pass from the Yellowjackets’ senior quarterback Justin Self at the Keys 40-yard line and returned it all the way to the 8-yard line.

Two plays later, the Cougars scored on a 2-yard pass from quarterback Trevor Eubanks to Tyler Blankenship and the rout was on. Keys (2-1, 1-0 District 3A-7) scored 45 points in the first half and sent the starters to the bench after halftime.

Westville’s lone score against Keys’ starters came on an 85-yard kickoff return by Gavin Beach midway through the first quarter.

“We played a pretty good first half,” Willis said. “We were really pushing our defense to get the first half shutout, which they did. The one score we gave up before halftime was on our special teams.”

In the first two quarters, the Cougars’ defensive starters forced five punts and held Westville to four first downs, less than half as many as the home team.

Despite pulling their starters after halftime, the Cougars only had eight penalties for 42 yards Friday night, compared to the 15 assessed during their rain soaked-win over Eufaula in Week 3.

“We made sure to emphasize ball discipline in practice this week, although the weather definitely helped,” Willis said. “We told our kids that it is time to get serious.”    

Keys’ next four opponents — Sequoyah, Vian, Tulsa Lincoln Christian and Hilldale — are a combined 13-3 and won their Week 4 games by an average of 40 points.

“It’s a playoff atmosphere,” Willis said. “The next month or so is going to be intense.”

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