Westlake football

Westlake's football team huddles during a game against Olympus on Sept. 14, 2012.

In the first half of Friday's Region 7 football opener between Westlake and Olympus, the Thunder had possession of the ball six times.

Those drives ended with a fumble, a blocked punt, two more punts, another fumble and an interception.

"We just made too many mistakes," said Westlake head coach Gary Clark. "We had a pair of big turnovers in the first half that they scored on or it would've been 7-0 at the half. We had some missed opportunities. We played hard, but we just misfired and hurt ourselves."

The miscues resulted in a lot of great field position for the visiting Titans, who capitalized often enough to get the 26-6 victory.

While the Thunder offense never really found a rhythm, the Westlake defense repeatedly came up with big stops — even when backed up deep in its own territory.

"The defense did play well, although we need to shore up our tackling," Clark said. "But Olympus was running hard. I'm proud of how they played overall."

Initially the Titans appeared to be ready to run away with the game, taking the opening kickoff and marching down to score, then forcing a fumble and a blocked punt on the next Thunder possessions.

But the Westlake defense, led by senior safety Kaleo Dipko and senior running back/linebacker Daniel Nugent — stiffened and didn't give up any points off those early turnovers.

The offense for the home team couldn't get on track, thanks in large part to the blitz packages of the Olympus defense.

"We're young up front and they will learn things through experience," Clark said. "We do need to get better at picking up those things, put we'll stay positive and keep learning."

Clark said it will make a difference to have the offense be able to string together some first downs to give the defense a chance to recover.

That didn't happen often against the Titans, who wore down the Thunder with their relentless ground game. Olympus finished with 351 rushing yards and three touchdown runs.

The visitors used their advantages to build a 26-0 lead early in the fourth quarter before Westlake finally got on the board.

With a few seconds to get his feet set, Thunder sophomore quarterback Gavin Williams launched a perfect pass to sophomore wide receiver Timothy Forsyth, who then raced 67 yards for the only Westlake touchdown on the evening.

The Thunder ended up with 148 yards passing but only eight on the ground as any gains were lost on sacks.

Although Westlake starts league play 0-1 (1-4 overall), Clark remained positive and pointed out that it's only one region loss.

"Now we need to rally back and win next week," he said.

The Thunder will next play at Hillcrest (0-1, 2-3) on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.

Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. He can also be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.

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