Westwood Panthers defeat Brahmans, 46-17

OKEECHOBEE — Westwood put up 453 yards in offense and scored 13 quick points as they trounced the Okeechobee Brahmans 46-17 in high school football action Friday at OHS.

Marques Burgess rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns, and Raheem Lewis ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass for the Panthers (2-3).

Okeechobee was led by Lamar Williams who rushed for 175 yards and a score.

Brahman coach Chris Branham said he challenged his team to improve their effort in the second half and that the team responded in spurts. Unfortunately it didn’t happen often enough as Okeechobee was defeated in every aspect of the game, offense, defense, and special teams.

Westwood jumped out to a 26-3 halftime lead and had 272 yards in offense in the first half. They drove 74 yards in 10 plays to score in the first three minutes of the game on a 6-yard run by Burgess. After a Brahman penalty and a 15-yard loss on a reverse, Westwood scored on a 31-yard half-back pass from Tarek Reaves to quarterback Raheem Lewis to make it 13-0.

Lewis said they practiced that play all week long but he never was thrown the ball. He wasn’t expecting it but was ready when he got the chance.

“I told him if he threw it to me I would get him a touchdown.”

Okeechobee had a lot of trouble trying to deal with the Panthers’ speed as they constantly chewed up big yards on the ground. Westwood had 17 first downs in the game, were pushed to third down on only three occasions in the game and never were forced to punt the ball away.

Lewis said they have eliminated the mental errors and mistakes and worked on improvement and conditioning since January so they could enjoy some wins on the football field.

“We go over the game play, we focus, and the offensive line has stepped up a lot this year. It felt great tonight. We had a great week in practice and it showed tonight,” he added.

Okeechobee got a field goal in the second quarter after a 65-yard drive keyed by a 16-yard run by Williams and two pass receptions by fullback Fred Bradley, who had 61 yards in offense for OHS, (2-4).

Jarrett Mills connected on a 27-yard field goal after the Brahman drive stalled at the Panther 9-yard line. Mills had another field goal opportunity later in the half but it was blocked. Westwood added two touchdown drives, the first 88 yards in 12 plays and the other 72 yards in four plays just before the half. Burgess scored on a 5-yard touchdown run and Lewis ran in a score from the 2-yard line for the Panthers.

The Panthers appeared to put the game away on the second-half kickoff as Donatavious Williams raced 90 yards untouched into the end zone for a 32-3 lead. Okeechobee responded when Bubba Fludd returned the next kickoff 78 yards for a score to make it 32-10.

It appeared Okeechobee might make it a game at that point as they were able to drive 68 yards to the Panther goal line in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Fludd fumbled on what appeared to be a certain touchdown run and Westwood recovered at the 1-yard line. They put the game away with an eight-play, 99-yard drive for a touchdown keyed by a 46-yard pass from Lewis to Jaharie Scarborough. John Scott Jr. ran in a 2-yard touchdown to make it 39-10.

Westwood made it 46-10 thanks to a 75-yard punt return by Reaves in the fourth quarter.

Okeechobee’s final score came after a nine-play, 63-yard drive as Williams rushed for bursts of 17 and 23 yards. He scored on the final play of the game from the 4-yard line.

Burgess said his offensive line deserved a lot of credit because they have improved a lot due to hard work, listening to coaches, working out, and getting stronger.

“They have improved a lot and they picked up their blocks. As long as they block for me I tell them I got your back. They’ve allowed me this year to show what I can do. I run hard. They might tackle me but they’ll pay for it,” he added.

Game notes

Brahmans with tackles for loss included Zeke Matthews, and Arthur Woodruff who had two tackles in the backfield. Jonathan Tucker, Ra’Shard Rucker, and Reaves had tackles for loss for Westwood.

Reaves had an interception for Westwood. Colton Smith recovered an onside kick for OHS.

Okeechobee hosts Palm Bay-Bayside next Friday night at 7 p.m.

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