Bounce Back: Western football cruises past Monticello

A week ago in The Jungle, the Louisa County defense bottled up Austin Shifflett and the Western Albemarle rushing attack.


Friday night against Monticello, Shifflett erased all memories of that performance, carrying 21 times for 162 yards and a whopping five touchdowns as Western celebrated homecoming with a 42-7 blowout of the visiting Mustangs.


The Warriors jumped out to a 21-0 lead all thanks to Shifflett, who went in from eight, 15 and finally one yard out with 11 minutes to go in the second quarter.


“I think offensively we came out with all kinds of rhythm,” Western coach Ed Redmond said. “Defensively we had some big plays early — an interception, a blocked punt, I don’t remember specifics, but I think there were also some times where Austin just took things into his own hands.”


Trenton Johnson provided the Mustangs’ lone highlight following Shifflett’s third touchdown, taking the ensuing kickoff and racing a school kick return record 95 yards to paydirt, giving Monticello a little bit of life early in the second.


Johnson’s return was one of many solid special teams plays from both sides in the first half. Western, to its credit, blocked a pair of Monticello punts on consecutive possessions.


Western answered Johnson’s score as Warriors quarterback Carter Shifflett got a rushing touchdown of his own, this one from five yards out with 4:22 before halftime to make it 28-7. The touchdown was set up by a 59-yard screen pass to Sam Herndon which put Western in the red zone.


Carter Shifflett didn’t get a touchdown through the air, but he did go 7-for-10 for 203 yards and also linked up with Breaker Mendenhall on a similar screen play which gave the Warriors the ball inside the 10 yet again. That led to Austin Shifflett’s fourth touchdown run, another eight-yard dash with 7:36 to go in the third.


“Our o-line performed tonight,” Austin Shifflett said. “It gave me better vision so I was able to break more tackles, and I think overall we were better prepared for this game than we were last week.”


Three minutes later, following an interception from Jack Lesemann, Austin Shifflett completed his monster night with a 21-yard run for the final margin. Leseman also filled in admirably as the blocking back, playing in place of the ailing Aidan Saunders.


“Jack Lesemann has been getting a lot of reps back there,” Redmond said. “He’s one of those guys who’s versatile, a very smart kid who understands our schemes. “Jack Weyher’s presence on defense is just outstanding. He can go hash to hash. They’re getting rewarded for their hard work and it’s good to see.”


The Mustangs offense struggled all night, as Malachi Fields completed just five of 16 passes for 40 yards and two picks, the first coming on Monticello’s third drive at the hands of Western’s Jack Weyher. Leading rusher Devonta Hargrove rushed nine times for 47 yards.


Shifflett became the first player to score five touchdowns against the Mustangs in program history. The Warriors’ 35-point margin of victory is Western’s largest in the rivalry’s history.


Western doubled up Monticello on first downs, 18-9, allowing just three Mustang conversions after halftime. Monticello actually held nine-minute edge in time of possession and forced three Western turnovers, but never did string together a complete drive.


The road gets tougher for the Mustangs, who welcome Louisa next Friday night. Western will begin a three-game road trip when it travels to Orange.