West Monroe rallies to defeat Ouachita

Cody Futrell
cfutrell@thenewsstar.com

In an instant it can all change.

West Monroe scored 27 points in a row to end the first half and held on for a 44-21 win over Ouachita on Friday at Lions Stadium.

Ouachita held a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter only to find themselves down by halftime.

West Monroe scored on a 15-yard run by quarterback Slade Bolden immediately following a poor punt snap that put the Rebels (6-1-1, 3-0) in prime field position.

Wide receiver Taylor Young then sprang loose for a 85-yard punt return for touchdown on the next series. West Monroe ended the half with 20 points in that 2:27 span. The last of it coming on the kickoff after the Young score when Tre'bion Terry ripped out the ball and returned the fumble for a touchdown. Stats were unofficial.

"We talk all the time of how important special teams are," West Monroe coach Jerry Arledge said. "Many, many games are won and lost in special teams. The first one (punt return) we had was a good one, but we got called for block in the back or whatever. The next time (Taylor was determined and we created and we put it in the endzone."

PROMISING START: Ouachita looked poised and on top of its game to begin the night. Ouachita took advantage of some early penalties on West Monroe to move the ball down the field and take an early lead on a Devion Warren 32-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Clark. Warren and the Lions missed several big play opportunities in the passing game but also connected on a few, too. Warren was 8-of-26 passing for 174 yards and two touchdowns with 140 of those yards on three completions.

"It was a huge momentum shift," Ouachita coach Jeff Fitzgerald said of the Ouachita miscues of special teams. "The punt return (by Young) was huge. It kind of led to a loss of an edge down the stretch of us dropping some passes. The special teams kinda led to some other areas and when you are down that much and you are going to dig down deep and keep fighting or you are going to lose that edge and something inside of you just gives up. I don't know. I am not sure which one it was. I don't believe our kids gave up at all. We kept fighting and scored a couple times at the end and we didn't give up. There were definitely some opportunities to give up and we didn't."

UP NEXT: West Monroe travels to Pineville while Ouachita takes on Ruston next week at 7 p.m.

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