Photo: Westbrook Christian’s P.J. Wells (right) beats a pair of Woodland defenders for a touchdown catch during the Warriors’ 56-21 victory in high school football last Friday (Oct. 12) in Rainbow City. (Travis Greene)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Westbrook Christian had little difficulty in securing a second straight state postseason berth last Friday (Oct. 19).
The Warriors jumped out to 30-point halftime lead en route to a 56-21 victory over Woodland in Class 2A, Region 6 action in Rainbow City.
Westbrook (5-3, 3-2) travels to Cleveland this Friday (Oct. 26) to determine the third and fourth playoff seeds in the region.
The Warriors, who cashed in on nine of their 11 offensive possessions, built a 50-7 lead by the end of the third quarter before the Bobcats scored a pair of late touchdowns against the Westbrook second-teamers.
Westbrook head coach Brian Mintz praised the effort of his team considering what was at stake.
“For the most part, we did what we needed to do to win the game. Defensively, we made some stops when we needed to.”
Senior running back Hunter Grimes finished with 146 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, a performance that pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
“That’s the first time in a long time that Westbrook has had a 1,000-yard rusher,” said Mintz. “That’s not only a compliment to Hunter but to our offensive line. They paved the way for a lot of our success this year. Plus, some of the most important blocks are the ones that [fullback] John Ross [Morgan] makes, and he’s been an excellent runner in his own right.”
Morgan ran six times for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Karmichael Cattling gained 110 yards on 11 attempts.
Jackson Cox completed 5 of 11 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns, both to Ryan Scott.
Jai’Shawn Cattling led the way on defense with 11 tackles (including three for a loss), an interception and a sack.
Brandon Foster had two interceptions.
Jackson Luttrell had eight tackles, followed by Carson Wiggins with six and Will Vice and John Reese Bellew with five each.
Mintz was not pleased with what he termed “silly” penalties, as the Warriors were flagged 13 times for 110 yards.
“The penalties really concern me, and we had a couple of turnovers that didn’t make sense,” he said.
Following a game-opening series that saw Woodland manage minus-17 yards in three plays, the hosts hit paydirt on their third play from scrimmage when Cox and P.J. Wells hooked up for a 32-yard touchdown. Keele Coates pushed through the first of his five PATs on the night.
After Jai’Shawn Cattling’s interception later in the first quarter, Morgan scored from four yards out for a 14-point lead.
The Bobcats answered with a drive aided by five Westbrook penalties for 45 yards. Brock Edwards’ 27-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Bolan on a fourth down and 9 drew the visitors within 14-7 with 1:42 remaining in the quarter.
That was as close as Woodland would get.
Morgan scored from 35 yards out three plays later, while Cox’s 75-yard TD strike to Scott two minutes into the second period made it 28-7.
On the first play of the next Westbrook series, Grimes eluded the Bobcat defense for a 56-yard scoring run, while Coates’ 17-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the first half sent the hosts into the locker room with a 37-7 lead and ended any realistic hopes of a Woodland comeback.
The initial possession of the second half, which was highlighted by a 43-yard run by Morgan, was capped by Cox’s 1-yard TD run. A 45-yard Cox-to-Scott pass play helped set up the score.
Grimes’ 5-yard touchdown run with less than five minutes remaining in the third period extended the lead to 50-7.
Mintz began substituting at that point, and Woodland provided window dressing for the scoreboard with two touchdown runs by Steven Robertson, the first for two yards with 19 seconds left in the third quarter and the second from 28 yards out at the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Warriors capped the scoring with Jai’Shawn Cattling’s 33-yard touchdown with 8:15 left in the game.
Robertson paced the Woodland rushing game with 75 yards on 11 carries. Edwards was 7 of 20 in passing for 61
“Cleveland’s got a good football team, and it’s going to be a big task for us,” said Mintz of this week’s important game.