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West snaps long losing skid against rival High, taking 28-22 OT win

By ISAAC DEER

TopSports.news

JaVion Lee scored on a 10-yard end-around sweep in overtime to give Topeka West a thrilling 28-22 win over USD 501 rival Topeka High Friday night at Hummer Sports Park, with the Chargers ending a 15-year losing streak against the Trojans.

Topeka West earned its first win against Topeka High since the 2005, forcing the overtime with a fourth-quarter touchdown and then taking the win on Lee's game-winning run. 

“They (Topeka West) asked me to step up and I did,'' Lee said. "With me, I work hard. I was waiting for that moment to come my whole life. We did it, as a team. This was amazing for us.”

The Trojans and Charger defenses forced repetitive three and outs during the 24 minutes before both teams got their offenses untracked after halftime.

Jaq’Son Birdwhistle-Bush, Xavier Alexander and Elliot Cooper led the way defensively for the Chargers in the first half, keeping Topeka High’s stellar run game in check while Topeka High’s defense also shut down West's offense and didn’t allow a single point. Danny Saili, Jamari Pleasant and Isiah Kincade were led the pack to keep the Chargers from taking any control.

Half number two was the opposite of half, with both offenses turning the volume up in the highly-competitive game.

Although Topeka High running back Tylan Alejos was somewhat quiet in the first half, he was a man on a mission in the second half. Having 18 yards on 7 carries in the first half, he followed up by running the ball 13 times for 146 yards in the second half and was responsible for all three touchdowns for Topeka High.

Topeka West’s offense looked rejuvenated after getting shutout six straight quarters dating back to last week’s game against Manhattan. Malachi Berg threw for 197 yards and 176 of those yards were to Elliot Cooper. Cooper was the key performer in Friday's victory, snagging eight receptions.

High and West’s gun-slinging second-half approaches kept the game going back and forth and regulation would end with the teams tied up at 22 apiece.

Topeka High would win the coin toss and elected to take the ball first in overtime. The Trojans had to start at the 35-yard-line rather than the 10 due to two personal foul calls to end regulation.

Alejos gained 10 and 6 yards on back to back, but Topeka High ended up facing a 4th and 17 situation and quarterback Peyton Wheat desperation heave into the end zone fell incomplete.

Topeka West quickly maee the most of its ensuing posession, with Berg taking the snap, pump faking a pass to Kamen Jones and flipping the ball to Lee. High’s defense was fooled and Lee took the ball in for the game-ending TD.

“We trusted Lee’s speed to get in the end zone when we needed him most,'' Topeka West coach Ryan Kelly said.

The game plan against the Trojans developed throughout the entirety of the game for Topeka West.

“We ran the ball quite a bit up the gut in the beginning of the game but No. 77 (Saili) was beating us up inside,'' Kelly said. "He’s a tough kid to block. We had to dial up some of our perimeter run plays to spread the field out to get away from the middle.”

Kelly was pleased with the performance but knows the Chargers have plenty of room to grow.

“We are pretty young on the offensive line, so there’s a lot of bad habits we need to correct,'' he said. "We need to be able to run the ball more effectively if we want to keep the success going.”

The commander of the offense, Berg, was happy with the way things ended.

“This is our last time playing them (Topeka High) in the Centennial League, so I’m glad we were able to beat them,'' Berg said. "We came together strong as a team.”

TOPEKA WEST 28, TOPEKA HIGH 22 (OT)

Topeka High (2-6) 0 6 8 8 0 -- 22

Topeka West (3-5) 0 0 16 6 6 -- 28

First quarter

Topeka High -- Alejos 7 run (kick failed)

Third quarter

Topeka West -- Berg 22 run (2-point conversion good)

Topeka High -- Alejos 42 run (2-point conversion good)

Topeka West -- Alexander 13 pass from Berg (2-point conversion good)

Fourth Quarter

Topeka High -- Alejos 21 run (2-point conversion good)

Topeka West -- Cooper 60 pass from Berg (conversion failed)

Overtime:

Topeka West -- Lee 10 run 

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing -- Topeka High: Alejos 20-164, Wheat 5-3, I. Kincade 4-18. Topeka West: Berg 14-66, Lee 12-10, Alexander 5-16, Jones 1-2.

Passing -- Topeka High: Wheat, 6-11, 67 yards. Topeka West: Berg, 12-19, 197, Alexander 1-1, 14.

Receiving -- Topeka High: E. Kincade 3-11, Williams 2-18, I. Kincade 1-38. Topeka West: Cooper 8-176, Alexander 2-14, Birdwhistle-Bush 1-16, Jones 1-5.

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