Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Jackson Cox (11) avoids Coosa Christian’s Jackson Tidmore (5) during the Warriors’ 35-6 victory in high school football on Friday, Aug. 24, in Gadsden. (Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Westbrook Christian scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 16-second span to pull away for a 35-6 victory over Coosa Christian on Friday, Aug. 24, in Gadsden.
It was the season opener for both teams as the Warriors took a 15-9 lead in the series. Westbrook has now won the last seven games against the Conquerors.
The two quick scores provided the visitors with a 28-0 lead with 11:36 left in the contest. The first touchdown came on a 23-yard run by John Ross Morgan. Garrett Hall’s fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff set up Westbrook at the Coosa 30, from where Hunter Grimes hit paydirt on the next play at 11:36.
Coosa drew within 22 points on Caiden Lipscomb’s touchdown pass to Clay Waits on the next possession, but Hunter Grimes 19-yard TD run with 8:10 left to play effectively put the game out of reach.
Trailing 15-0 coming out of halftime, the Conquerors twice had a first and goal inside the Westbrook 5-yard line in the third quarter, but both times the hosts came away empty.
Morgan paced the Warrior rushing game with 66 yards on 10 carries. Grimes ran 14 times for 42 yards.
Westbrook quarterback Jackson Cox completed 7-of-12 passes for 173 yards, while P.J. Wells had three receptions for 115 yards.
Westbrook head coach Brian Mintz was pleased with the win, especially being on the road.
“Especially with games early on, turnovers make a huge difference,” he said. “We came out with a pretty simple game plan – we wanted to run the football and throw it when we needed to. I made one bad coaching decision and it cost us a fumble, and that was on me. We made some mistakes, but we also did some good things.”
For the Conquerors, Dartavious Britton rushed for 130 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 20 yards.
“Keeping [Britton] out of the end zone was one of those good things we did,” said Mintz. “That’s an accomplishment in itself. He’s close to the best back we’ll see this year.”
Coosa Christian head coach Nevandra Woods acknowledged that his team hurt its own cause one too many times to have an opportunity to win. The Conquerors were flagged 10 times for 90 yards.
“We made a lot of stupid errors, and as the coach, I take the blame for that. We basically shot ourselves in the foot, and I just told my guys that we will no longer lose a game due to a lack of discipline.”
Lipscomb was 11 for29 in passing for 107 yards. Clay Waits caught four passes for 50 yards.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Westbrook took the lead for good on Cox’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Hall at the 9:52 mark of the second period. Morgan ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
After a Coosa punt, the Warriors marched 69 yards in eight plays, highlighted by Cox’s 24-yard touchdown pass to P.J. Wells. Keele Coates converted the PAT for a 15-0 advantage.
A 41-yard field goal attempt by the Conquerors fell short with under two minutes left before halftime.
The second half started on a good note for the hosts after Britton ran back the opening kick 60 yards to the Warrior 35. Pass plays of 13 and 10 yards moved Coosa to the Westbrook 3, but an intentional grounding penalty hampered scoring threat, and the drive eventually ended in three straight incompletions.
After an exchange of punts, Coosa’s Karter Roberts price recovered a fumble at the Warrior 8.
Once again, however, penalties pushed the Conquerors back, and the possession fizzled out on a failed fourth down conversion attempt.
On the next play, Cox and Wells hooked up for a 63-yard gain, setting up the first of Westbrook’s three fourth quarter touchdowns.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Mintz. “I thought they did what they needed to do to win. But we’ve got plenty to work on, I’ll assure you of that.” Defensively for Westbrook, Ryan Scott had four tackles, followed by Carson Wiggins, Will Lankford and Jackson Luttrell with three each. Luttrell also had a sack.
Roberts led Coosa in tackles with 10, followed by Cates with seven, Conner Belyeu with six.
Both teams are at home next week. Westbrook hosts Ragland, while Coosa Christian welcomes Appalachian.