In the final 30 seconds that seemed like an eternity, Westside football came up five yards short on a comeback attempt which would’ve given them their second consecutive state championship.
After a defensive battle, Westside lined up for a final two-minute drill attempt, down 7-3. After a 13-yard pass from Anthony Rezac to Grant Guyett, the Warriors found themselves one yard away from taking the lead with 27 seconds to go.
Unfortunately, the drive only when backwards from there. A failed wildcat rushing attempt, followed by a fumbled snap on second down took the life from Westside’s newly found momentum and had taken 20 seconds off the clock while pushing them back to the 10 yard line. A defensive holding call brought the Warriors back up to the five yard line and it came down to the final play with two seconds to go.
With heavy pressure applied to Anthony Rezac on the final play, he never stood a chance. Gretna linebacker Connor Edwards came around the right side almost instantly, and resulted in a throw that never came close to intended receiver Guyett and the Warriors lost 7-3.
Westside assistant coach Michael Jernigan said what went wrong in that final minute.
“You think you got the right call every time and that’s the confidence you have to have and it just didn’t work out for us,” he said. “They brought great pressure all night and kept Anthony [Rezac] on the run all night, he made some plays but [Gretna] did their job so hats off to them.”
The game did not go as many expected, while both teams defenses’ held the other to only one score. Westside head coach Brett Froendt said what separated the Dragons from the Warriors.
“Gretna played with a tremendous amount of heart, speed, and passion while we didn’t play our best football, have to give credit to them,” Froendt said. “Our defense played well enough to win a game but we didn’t play well enough in all three phases.”
Westside’s historic senior class has led them to three straight state championship appearances, something they can all be proud of. Senior linebacker Tommy Connelly said his class brought something special to Westside.
“We were a special class, we built a culture for that team and I hope they carry it on because we were special,” Connelly said.
With a talented group of underclassmen, coach Froendt hopes this game serves as motivation for the future for this Westside program.
“I hope it motivates them,” Froendt said. “Every one of them takes it a little bit different but if they can’t be motivated by this I’m not sure what they can be motivated by.”
Although not the ending the Warriors had anticipated, the team ends their season at 12-1, tying a program record for consecutive wins and bring home their sixth ever Class A State Runners Up title.