The West Ferris Trojans knew they had to be ready in every aspect of the game to beat Widdifield Wildcats Saturday.
It was no secret to the Trojans that the Wildcats had a powerful offence with lots of weapons.
The clubs split their season series, but the Wildcats gained the decisive home field advantage.
“I have to give so much credit to our coaching staff,” Tougas said after his club won the NDA senior football title with a 23-17 win.
“We all went over so much game film and it consumed us during the week,’ he said. “The kids bought into the game plan. We were ready and knew we had to be or they would have beaten us.”
The Wildcats tried an onside kick with just over two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but Cameron Fry of the Trojans batted the ball out of bounds and the Trojans were able to run out the clock.
The Wildcats just could not contain running back Scott Strang.
Strang scored three and rushed for well over a 100 yards. His third TD in the fourth quarter capped off a drive of more than seven minutes and was the backbreaker.
“There was no way they were going to bring me down today,” Strang said. “The offensive line was great, they have been all year long. It feels good to win.”
Strang missed the first game of the season with an ankle sprain when the Wildcats won and he had it taped for the championship game.
“It was all or nothing today,” he said.
Strang scored his first touchdown from four yards out and in the second quarter he went six yards for his second TD. His third touchdown from eight yards out in the fourth quarter put the game away.
Dan Weber added three converts. The Trojans, who have three titles in a row, were also credited with a safety touch when quarterback Jason Ethier of the Wildcats was called for intentional grounding in the first quarter. He was tackled in the end zone and threw the ball away.
Wylie Phillips and Chris Sheremeta had the touchdowns for the Wildcats, who finished the season in first place.
Andrew Mills kicked two converts and added a 26-yard field goal late in the second quarter to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard.
The Trojan defence held the Cats to limited yardage in the first half, but gave up touchdowns on Widdifield’s only two possessions in the second half.
“Our defence had trouble in the second half,’ said Tougas. “We contained their offence in the first half, but they scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
And the Wildcats didn’t waste any time on either one of them. Phillips went 12 yards and Sheremeta caught a pass from QB Jason Ethier and went 65 yards for the major score.
Ball control in the second half saved the day for the Trojans.
They took the opening kickoff at the start of the third quarter and held the ball for 11 minutes and 19 seconds before their march was stopped deep in Widdifield territory.
In the fourth quarter, after Phillips 12-yard touchdown run put the Wildcats seven points back, the Trojans ran off another drive of seven minutes and 32 seconds, culminating with Strang going over from eight yards out.
Trojans John Gore was doubgle teamed the entire ga,me, but he didn’t mind.
“It didn’t bother me,” he said. “Scott had a MVP game and the offensive line did a great job. We came up here prepared.”
While Gore was being double team ed, quarterback Dan Weber took some of the pressure off Strang with runs at strategic times.
“We were expected to win last year,” Weber said. “This year we were the underdogs, definitely. We knew we had to come here and beat them at their own field.”
Tougas marveled at the two long drives his club pout together in the second quarter.
“That win the game for us,” he said. “Without Scott’s third touchdown, we would have lost the game.”