The West Mecklenburg football team didn’t need help against Independence.
But the Patriots were giving Friday night, committing five first-half turnovers to help West Meck, No. 4 in the Observer Sweet 16, to a 59-28 road victory.
West Mecklenburg sophomore quarterback J’Mari Taylor was sharp early and often completing his first seven passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.
Taylor found Dyami Brown (North Carolina commit) and JaQuan Ebron for 26 and 16-yard touchdowns passes on the first two drives, respectively.
Taylor finished 12-for-15 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, while Brown had five catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor also rushed for 81 yards and two more scores.
West Mecklenburg (4-0), which rolled up 399 yards of total offense, jumped out to a 35-0 lead and never looked back, leading 49-14 at halftime.
The West Meck defense also got in the act scoring two touchdowns by Brown (93-yard fumble return) and Aaron Judkins (25-yard fumble return), while forcing four fumbles and grabbing two interceptions that resulted in 35, Hawks’ points.
The victory sets up a showdown with traditional state power Scotland County next Friday.
Independence (1-3) was led by Dylan Bryan, who had 10 catches for 205 yards, while Elijah Beamer rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
Records:West Mecklenburg 4-0; Independence 1-3.
Worth mentioning: West Mecklenburg is off to its best start at 4-0 since starting 5-0 in 2013 and has been dominant outscoring opponents 192-53 this season. ...West Meck kicker Christian Alvarez had a busy night, making eight extra points and a 33-yard field goal to score 11 points. ...Independence senior wide receiver Dylan Bryan had a career-high 10 catches for 205 yards.
What's Next: West Mecklenburg hosts Scotland County next Friday night. ... Independence has a bye week before hosting Hickory Ridge (Sept. 22) in its Southwestern 4A conference opener.