Westbrook holds off Section, keeps playoff hopes alive

By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

Westbrook Christian continued its march toward a playoff spot with a 38-28 win over Class 2A, Region 7 rival Section on Friday (Oct. 18) in Rainbow City. 

The Warriors (5-3, 4-2) raced out to a 24-21 lead after two quarters, and then held on with some big late-game defensive plays for the homecoming victory.

“We knew we had two quality teams playing,” said Westbrook head coach Tony Osborne. “We made mistakes but did just enough to win the game. It was a back-and-forth game, and either team could have been a little discouraged.” 

The Lions out-gained the Warriors in total yardage by a 342 to 338 margin.

The game was tied 14-14 after the first period and Westbrook held a slim 24-21 lead at halftime. 

Both teams scored on their opening possession of the evening. 

Section drove 61 yards in seven plays for the game’s first points when Chris Manning scored on a 2-yard run with 8:40 to go in the first quarter. 

Westbrook answered 59 seconds later when Will Appleton hit Noah Hunt on a 78-yard TD strike. 

The teams again traded touchdowns, with Section driving 31 yards in six plays to regain the lead at 14-7. Manning scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run with 4:21 remaining. 

Westbrook answered three minutes later with a 30-yard drive to draw even at 14-14. Dalvin Lewis did the honors with a 10-yard run. Chris Underwood kicked the PAT and the game was even at 14-14.

Appleton connected with Chris Underwood on a 14-yard touchdown toss with 9:26 to go in the second to put the Warriors on top 21-14. 

Underwood added a 35-yard field goal late in the second quarter, only to have Section counter with a Manning 42-yard touchdown pass to Noah Crawford with 1:56 left in the first half to cut the Westbrook lead to 24-21 at intermission.

The Warriors stopped a Lions’ drive late in the third quarter when Tyler Lowery fell on a fumble at the Westbrook 29. 

Westbrook got the opening kickoff the second half and marched 65 yards in eight plays to extend its lead. Appleton hit Hunt, who made a one-handed grab in the end zone, on a 21-yard touchdown pass, and Underwood’s extra point made it 31-21 with 9:30 left in the third period. 

Section answered with a 2-yard scoring play by Chris Manning with 6:16 left in the game to cut it to 31-28. Manning’s touchdown capped a 35-yard, four-play drive.

Section had one last opportunity late in the game. 

After the Lions took over on their own 13 with 3:45 left, William Martin stepped in front of a Section pass for an interception and returned it to the Section 10. 

Three plays later, Appleton found Hunt again, this time from six yards out, to nail down the win with 1:23 to go in the game.

Appleton completed 20 of 34 throws for 251 yards and four touchdowns.

Manning finished with 94 yards rushing and three scores on 22 carries, two pass receptions for 31 yards and threw a touchdown pass.

Westbrook concludes region play on Friday with a visit to North Sand Mountain in Higdon.

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