Vashon senior running back Charvez Lewis recently explained his club’s motto to keep striving by saying the Wolverines “live to fight another down,” and that approach was certainly in full mode against the visiting Windsor Owls in a Missouri Class 4 district quarterfinal game last Saturday afternoon at Sumner. Clarvez and his twin brother Charvon Lewis keyed a rushing attack which produced a grinding 337 yards on 32 carries as the Wolverines easily lived to ‘fight anotherdown and playoff round with a 34-6 rout at Sumner’s Tuskegee Airmen. As a result of the runaway, Vashon (6-3) earned a right for a rematch with the Gateway Jaguars (9-1) who beat them 20-14 earlier in the season to eventually claim the Public High League title.
But now the stakes are higher, as the two best PHL teams will square in a district semifinal contest at 7 p.m. on Friday at Gateway. The host Jaguars punched their ticket to the next round by beating the St.Mary’s Dragons 40-25. In going to the ground attack early, often and effectively, the Wolverines assured themselves of a rematch with Gateway ,which had won last Friday night. Charvon Lewis was the most prolific runner of the group with 165 yards on 12 carries, followed by Charvez Lewis with 87 yards on nine attempts, fullback Jaylin Wayne with 47 yards on seven rushes and quarterback Clifton Dickens 38 yards on four carries. Dickens and Charvon Lewis scored on 1 and 3-yard touchdowns to help give Vashon a 14-0 cushion but both runs were set up by drives of 74 yards or more.
“They did a good line with their big line and their plethora of good running backs,” said Owls coach Greg Westermayer afterwards. “They don’t beat themselves as much as you might think. They don’t shoot themselves in the foot, that’s probably why they win more games than they lose.”
But since a two- game skid in which they lost to Gateway and DeSmet, the Wolverines have utilized their stable of good runners and minimized their turnover potential via the air attack.In that regard, Wolverine Charvon Lewis has made like St. Louis Ram Todd Gurley.
“Yeah he (Charvon) had a good day running the ball,” said Wolverines head coach Reginald Ferguson laughing when the Gurley comparison was made. “But he’s been running well for a couple of weeks now. We decided to open up our running attack more this week.”
Suffice to say, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Lewis amassed 71 yards on the first scoring drive alone. Furthermore Vashon’s rushing attack helped the unit’s periodic passing attack, where Dickens completed five of 11 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns, one to Levi Stockard and another a spelndid 37-yard strike to Larry Shelton both in the second half. Wayne added the final insurance touchdown on a 3-yard run. Vashon’s only major leak came late in the third quarter when Windsor struck for a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kael Ward to Brandon Fouts who slipped away from the Wolverines secondary and scampered to pay dirt down the left sidelines.
“Defensively I thought we did a good job,” said Ferguson. “We made a few mistakes and we had a few penalties jumping offsiedes, that allowed Windsor to stay on the field a little longer and extend their drives a little more. But overall I think the defense did a good job.”
In their earlier meeting with Gateway, Vashon’s defense certainly did its part in holding the high-powered Jaguars to 20 points while producing 12 points of its own on fumble recoveries fro scores by cousins Davion and Levi Stockard. But the missing link for Vashon that game was the missing quarterback Dickens, who was serving a suspension from an ejection the previous game as a defensive back.Fellow defensive back Kevin Oliver was also out that game, with an injury. Without Dickens the quarterback, Vashon’s passing game sputtered but the Wolverines played from behind and couldn’t stay on the ground either.Both Dickens and Ferguson are optimistic of a more favorable outcome the second time around against the Jaguars.
“It will be a lot different this time,” said Dickens, amid the celebration of the Windsor win. “We’ve been preparing for this (advancing through the playoffs) all season. We want to play in the Dome (Edward Jones Dome for the state championship) and they (the Jaguars) are in our way. We’ve got to knock them out of the way.”
At the same time, Ferguson believes having his best players available is all he could ask.
“This is something the kids have been looking forward to,” said Ferguson. “When we played them the last game, we were not fully loaded. That’s the one thing they understand : that we were not fully loaded. Now that we have everybody in place, we’re hoping to get that chance again this week.”