LOCKPORT – Joliet West traveled to Lockport on Friday in search of its fifth victory and a spot in the playoffs.
The Porters had other ideas, however, as they burst the Tigers’ bubble with a 35-6 SouthWest Suburban Blue victory. It was also the last SWSC game for the Tigers, as they will move to the Southwest Prairie Conference next fall.
The Porters (4-5, 4-3) scored on their first two possessions and that was all they needed on the rainy, windy evening.
The Tigers (4-5, 2-5) put together a nine-play drive to start the game, but had to punt, and Lockport took over on its 30-yard line.
On fourth-and-6 from the West 40, Porters junior quarterback Ben Davis hit Patrick Cooper with a 40-yard catch and run to put the Porters up 7-0 with 4:06 left in the first quarter.
Lockport came right back on its next possession when Matt Skobel scored from a yard out after a seven-play drive for a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Cooper scored again on a 9-yard pass from Davis with a second left in the half to make 21-0 at the break. Cooper, a junior receiver, ended with 85 yards on three receptions.
“I’m really happy to end the season on a high note, especially for our seniors,” Cooper said. “This will really boost my confidence for next season, and Ben (Davis) and I have built some good chemistry. This team has played well the second half of the season.”
Lockport’s defense limited the Tigers to 26 yards rushing on 10 carries in the first half.
“This is a great feeling to win, but also sad because it is over,” said Ryan Kelley, a senior leader on the Lockport defense. “The best thing about this season is being on the field with all of my teammates. These last few weeks really showed what kind of team we really had, and I’m so proud to have been a part of it.”
The Porters’ versatile Deiondre Taylor scored on a 6-yard run to open the second half as Lockport marched 78 yards on the opening drive. Taylor also threw a 28-yard pass to Colin Van Lonkhuyzen before his touchdown run.
Taylor finished his final Lockport game with 53 yards rushing on nine attempts, a reception for 16 yards and one completion for 28 yards.
On the next possession, Lockport’s Derrius Rodgers intercepted a Jaxon Aubry pass and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown to put the Porters up, 35-0, with 3:41 left in the third quarter.
After West had blocked a Lockport punt, it got on the board with 9:41 remaining as Juwann McBee scored from four yards out.
“Our seniors showed so much leadership this season. They lead the charge and showed that this team has toughness and character,” Lockport coach Dan Starkey said. “It was great to finish they way we did. Our entire program came a long way, and I’m proud of everyone, and our future looks great.”
West coach Jason Aubry echoed the same statements about his team.
“We are looking forward to a great future.” he said. “Just look at how many young kids we have on the field. Tonight is the hardest because it’s our last game for our seniors. We just struggled all night tonight, but Lockport is a playoff-caliber team. Next season starts tomorrow.”