In the Wolverines’ final game of the regular season Friday, the squad did not disappoint, with a 48-44 victory over Salesian on their home field in Boyle Heights.
The Wolverines moved to 4-2 in league play and 7-3 overall and are Angelus League co-champions with Cathedral after they beat St. Paul 45-13.
“It’s always hard to come back against a team as good as Salesian, but I am proud of our team,” Eric Bradley ’16 said.
On Salesian’s third play of the game, Thomas Glover ’18 intercepted Robbie Blosser’s ’17 pass and brought the ball all the way down to the Mustang four-yard line.
On the very next play, Noah Rothman ’16 ran it in for a touchdown, putting the Wolverines up 7-0 just 1:21 into the game.
However on Salesian’s next drive, they quickly scored on a 41-yard wide receiver reverse.
While the Wolverines could do nothing on their second drive of the night, Salesian methodically ran the ball down the field, and finally scored on a 12-yard run.
On Harvard-Westlake’s next drive, they moved the ball all the way down to the Salesian 35, but were ultimately unable to pick up a first down, and turned the ball over on downs.
Salesian was forced to punt on their next possession and had their punt blocked by Mike Mapes ’16. The Wolverines recovered the ball at the Salesian 10 and scored two plays later on a seven-yard reception by Zac Harleston ’17.
On Salesian’s ensuing possession, Mapes blocked his second punt in a row and the Wolverines began on the Salesian 45 with six minutes to go in the second quarter.
After a handoff to the guard Bradley, Rothman threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Jones ’18 to give the Wolverines a 21-14 lead.
The Mustangs then threw a 72-yard deep pass to even up the score at 21.
Salesian scored two more times before the end of the half to make the score 35-21 in their favor.
On Harvard-Westlake’s second play of the third quarter, Rothman threw an interception. However, the Mustangs were forced to punt and the Wolverines began their second drive of the second half at the Salesian 46.
After a 34-yard pass from Rothman to Jones, Rothman ran for a touchdown to cut the Salesian lead to 35-28.
Salesian’s next possession concluded in a 40-yard touchdown pass, and put the score at 41-28 after a missed extra point.
The Wolverines’ next drive, which saw them get to the red zone, was foiled by a fumble, which Salesian recovered at their own 12-yard line.
Just as it appeared the Mustangs were about to take control of the game, they were unable to pick up a first down, and were forced to punt. Ben Cooper ’16 blocked the third punt of the night, and the Wolverines recovered the ball deep in Mustangs’ territory.
On fourth down at the Salesian 19, Rothman threw up a jump ball, which was caught by Jones to make the score 41-35 at the end of three quarters. But, the Wolverines were not finished yet.
Salesian quickly kicked a field goal to put them up 44-35.
On the Wolverines’ next possession, they scored on another Rothman run to cut the score to 44-42 with 7:31 left in the ballgame.
Salesian’s first play on their next drive resulted in a fumble, which was recovered by Harvard-Westlake at the Mustangs’ 30.
After an injury timeout, Phil Thompson ’16 ran it down to the one-yard line, and was eventually punched in by Rothman to give the Wolverines their first lead of the second half at 48-44 after a missed two point conversion.
On Salesian’s final possession of the game, they drove all the way down to the Harvard-Westlake 5, but on fourth and three, Blosser fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Bradley.
After two Wolverine first downs and two kneels by Rothman, Harvard-Westlake picked up their fourth win in the Angelus League with a 48-44 win over the Salesian Mustangs.
“The offense stepped up tonight, and it was truly a team victory,” Head Coach Scot Ruggles said. “We have some great kids on our team who made some great plays to seal this victory.”
The Wolverines will be making their second playoff appearance in a row, and are looking to avenge a first round exit last year. Their opponent and location is still to be announced.
“I am sad that this will be my last postseason, but I am also excited because it shows how hard we have fought this year to be in this position, and I hope that we can make a deep run,” Bradley said.