They had four take-aways, but more importantly they kept Westside pinned deep in Warrior territory for most of the night.
But the offense, which moved the ball well, had three turnovers in the end zone keeping them off the scoreboard and giving the Warriors a 16-0 win for their first conference victory in many years on Oct. 10.
"I thought we played them pretty good defensively," said Rebel Head Coach Clay Wiggins. "We're just making some mistakes offensively. We had our chances, but we let them go through our fingers."
Highland made some changes offensively against Westside.
One change was noticed on the first play. Wiggins called for the reverse to senior Justin Bryant, who hasn't run the ball much this year.
Bryant picked up 15 yards. The offense couldn't keep the drive going and eventually gave the ball to Westside on downs.
The Warriors put together a long opening drive helped by two Rebel offside calls that extended the Westside drive. They too, would give the ball back on downs.
The two teams exchanged punts with a Bryant punt being downed by Ben Reed at the 1-yard line that started a string of series that gave Highland its best chance of scoring.
The Rebel defense forced a punt after three plays.
Juniors Blake Martin and Michael Tarver had picked up five and two yards before Bryant took a sweep to the right for 33 yards. However, he lost the ball around the 3 and it rolled out the back of the end zone giving Westside the ball at the 20.
This would be Highland's first missed chance.
Once again, the defense forced a punt. Martin, from his linebacker position, had two tackles for losses of 12 and five yards.
Quarterback Cannon Davis missed on his first two passes of this series, but then hit senior Caleb Davidson on a slant pattern for a first down.
Defensive back Ethan Clark intercepted the next pass at the Westside 25 and returned it to the Highland 6-yard line. Davidson made a touchdown saving tackle.
The Warriors were unable to turn it into points as they fumbled at the 5 on third down.
With just under a minute to go, Highland wanted to run out the clock and regroup in the ASU locker room, but the officiating crew almost made that impossible.
Highland was called for a hold on the first down. The referee moved the ball half the distance to goal and set the down at two, instead of keeping it first down.
On fourth down, Bryant skied a punt high into the air and the Rebels just didn't touch the ball until the clock ran out.
On the night, Highland had 10 penalties for 100 yards as opposed to Westside's two for 10 yards.
Kicker Jeffrey Tate pulled off the best play of the night for the Rebels. He looped a kick over the head of the receiving team's front linesmen and then ran past them to recover the ball at the Westside 38.
Emulating the popular offense of the day, Martin had been taking the direct snap periodically throughout the game.
On second down, Martin kept the ball and rumbled for 20 yards. Scott Gatewood added a four-yard run to the 6-yard line. Martin nearly crashed in for a score, but the ball popped loose at the 1 and Westside recovered in the end zone giving them the ball at the 20 again.
This would be Highland's second missed chance.
The Warriors were unable to do anything and punted it right back to Highland, who took over at Westside 30.
The Rebel offense couldn't take advantage of the short field and gave it back on downs after four plays.
Brandon Sharp intercepted a Clark pass at the Warrior 25.
Davis was looking for Bryant on second down, but defensive back Tyler Lloyd intercepted the pass in the end zone.
This would be Highland's third missed chance.
Third time was a charm for the Warriors who moved the ball 80 yards for a touchdown. A Lloyd 6-yard rush, followed by the same play for a 2-point conversion with 2:32 left in the third.
Westside scored again halfway through the fourth on Clark's 11-yard TD run.
Gatewood led the defense with 10 tackles followed by Matt Schneider and Martin with seven and six respectively.
Martin had 15 carries for 98 yards. Bryant rushed five times for 52 yards and Tarver picked up 38 yards on 11 carries.
Davis was five-of-16 for 63 yards.
Highland (0-6, 0-3) will take on Valley View at Rebel Memorial Field on Oct. 17.