SOMERSET – Zane Blackburn ran for 107 yards and scored twice, while teammate Mason Muto added 94 yards on the ground and two scores of his own to lead the Westmont Hilltop Hilltoppers past the Somerset Golden Eagles 35-6.
“We lost against Richland last week and we had to come out and get a win tonight,” said Blackburn. “We needed to make some big plays tonight and the guys up front opened up some big holes for me.”
“Those guys are a great one, two punch,” added Westmont Hilltop coach Pat Barron. “We are a running back by committee this year, but we needed a win desperately tonight and we went out and got one.”
The Golden Eagles defense tried to set the momentum for the game when on the opening possession of the game Caden Carder sacked Westmont Hilltop quarterback Connor Polacek for a loss of 10 on fourth down and the ball went over on downs to Somerset.
After the Hilltoppers’ defense got a stop of its own on fourth down, Westmont took only five plays to find pay dirt when Muto took the handoff and raced untouched up the middle from 43 yards out for the early 6-0 lead.
Somerset tried to answer late in the first by putting together a nice nine-play drive that ended at the 7-yard line when Bradley Barndt was unable to connect with Ethan Hemminger in the back of the end zone giving the ball back to the Hilltoppers with just under 30 seconds left in the opening quarter.
The drive of the night followed by Westmont Hilltop as the took their time working the ball down the field using 19 plays and 11 minutes of clock.
The drive was capped off by Muto who carried the pile into the end zone from 1 yard out and a 14-0 lead after a two-point conversion by teammate Blackburn.
Somerset was forced to punt after another three and out, and a nice return by Blackburn set Westmont Hilltop up at the Eagles 40-yard line with 38 seconds left in the opening half.
This time the Hilltoppers only needed four plays to score, when Polacek completed his first pass of the night from 20 yards out to Blackburn which gave Westmont Hilltop the commanding 21-0 lead at the half.
After Somerset moved the ball across midfield on its opening possession of the second half, the Hilltoppers forced a turnover on downs deep inside their own end to give the ball back to their offense.
After a long run by Westmont Hilltop’s Roy Dunn moved the ball into the red zone, the Hilltoppers’ Stefen Dean scored his first touchdown of the season from six yards out to extend the lead to 28-0.
The Hilltoppers scored again on their next possession when Blackburn ran off left tackle from 10 yards out to make it a 35-0 game late in the third quarter.
As both teams went to their benches to start the fourth quarter, Somerset’s Brad Bruner found a wide-open Dylan Thomas for a 27-yard strike and that gave the Somerset homecoming crowd something to cheer about on a cold fall night, but it was not enough as Westmont Hilltop cruised.
“That’s Westmont’s game,” said Somerset head coach Bob Landis.
“They are just going to power run on you, and we played with them there for the first quarter, but that long drive in the second was the killer how they controlled the clock.
“We still have three very winnable games to play here at the end of the year, and we just need to focus on that next week.”