This past weekend, Western football put together one of their more complete games of the season so far in their 38-7 victory over the visiting Ichabods of Washburn University. It was the program’s first win against Washburn since 2014.
Just one week removed from a 66-16 home victory over Northeastern State that would be impossible to describe as anything short of a rout, Western continued to be able to find their rhythm from whistle to whistle and come out swinging right out of the gate.
For the second straight week, Western had a running back top 100 rushing yards, as redshirt freshman running back James Bailey Jr. gashed the Ichabods’ defense on 17 carries for 139 yards, averaging 8.2 yards per rushing attempt.
“What we did well was we were able to execute,” Bailey said. “The line was able to get a really good push up front. The receivers blocked well off the edges, and we were able to read our keys and everything else just took care of itself.”
In addition to Bailey’s dominance on the ground in the run game, senior quarterback Dom Marino again made plays all over the field in a number of ways, doing it both with his arm, as well as his legs. Marino ended up 17-23 for 249 yards and four passing touchdowns to go along with zero interceptions. He also rushed for 65 yards on the ground and a rushing score.
After last week’s offensive explosion, Marino and the Western offense were able to keep their momentum going this week and execute the game plan to perfection.
“We went into this week of practice and game day with the mindset of spending every ounce of focus on the job that needs to be done for whatever play is called,” Marino said. “When all 11 guys do that and actually execute that assignment, big things happen.”
On the defensive side of the ball, senior defensive back Brandin Dandridge contributed two interceptions, giving him a league-leading four so far this season. The true star of the game on defense, however, was true freshman linebacker Kobe Cummings. Cummings, who played his high school ball just down the road at Platte County High School, had a team-leading 14 tackles on the night and added an interception to his monster stat line.
“I’ve been really trying to focus on perfecting every rep in practice and finding things on film that can either give me an advantage on the opponent or let me know what I need to improve on before the game,” Cummings said. “The older guys also teach me a lot about the game within practice, explaining tendencies, route combos, situations, really anything that applies to football they will talk to me about, just giving me their wisdom and advice since they have the experience.”
Western’s efforts did not go unnoticed by the MIAA, as Marino and Cummings were named MIAA Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.
Western (3-2) will look to stay scorching hot this week as they travel to take on the Lions of Missouri Southern State University (0-5) this Saturday. Through five games so far this season, Missouri Southern has been outscored by their opponents 275-40. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.