Photo: Westbrook Christian’s Will Noles (left) runs for a first down as Joe Tucker (8) blocks Coosa Christian’s Cadden Moore during the Warriors’ 50-24 victory in high school football on Aug. 22 in Rainbow City. (Gary Wells)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The Drew Noles Era at Westbrook Christian started off with a bang on August 22.
After turning the ball over on their first drive, the Warriors scored on their next six possessions en route to a 50-24 victory over Coosa Christian in Rainbow City.
Will Edwards’ 37-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer provided the hosts with a 31-6 lead. The Conquerors scored three touchdowns in the second half but Westbrook kept the visitors at bay with three TDs of its own.
The Warriors certainly spread the wealth on offense. Karmicheal Cattling rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown and had a 72-yard kickoff return that set up a touchdown, Ryan Scott ran five Times for 72 yards and a score and Will Noles threw touchdown passes of 80 and 46 yards, both to Joe Tucker.
Westbrook also had it going on special teams. Cattling ran back the opening kickoff of the second half 72 yards to set up a touchdown, Asher Keck returned 80 yards for a touchdown and Edwards was a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points.
Defensively, Jai’Shawn Cattling had seven tackles, including two for a loss. Ethan Hart and Derrick Graham each had five stops.
Considering his team’s overall inexperience, Drew Noles was pleased that he was able to get most of his players in the game.
“We went in completely blind on what [Coosa Christian] would do both offensively and defensively, and I thought we came out and did what we wanted to do,” he said. “You don’t like giving up 25 points, but they were late points. I also thought we were clean in terms of penalties, especially early on, so our coaches did a great job of getting the kids ready. We’ve got a lot of cleaning [up] to do, but at least now we have some film.”
Noles had special praise for Keck, an eighth grader who was playing in his first varsity football game.
“I know this is saying a lot, but that guy will be going the best running back to ever come out of this county.”
Noles was also appreciative of Edwards first varsity game.
“Will is the best [kicker] I’ve ever had. He’s good from 50 to 55 [yards] in practice, so hopefully he can be a weapon for us.”
It was Will Noles first start at quarterback after starting at receiver the past two seasons at Etowah.
“Will made some plays and he got us out of some bad plays. He really is a coach on the field, and you don’t take that lightly. He literally knows everything about our offense, which is a huge plus for us.”
The Conquerors did not help their cause with 13 penalties for 65 yards.
“We had too many mental mistakes,” said Coosa head coach Rod Cates. “We had a lot of young guys who hadn’t played before, so we need to clean it up and get ready for next week.”
For Coosa, Dartavious Britton finished with 268 combined yards. He rushed 14 times for 159 yards and two TDs and completed 2-of-2 passes for 109 yards. Evan Delp had three receptions for 158 yards and two scores.
Defensively for Coosa, Trevor Horn had 14 tackles, followed by Reece Myrick with nine and Britton with five.
The Warriors took the lead for good on Scott’s 49-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. Following a 30-minute weather delay, Westbrook made it 14-0 courtesy of Caiden Wyatt’s one-yard touchdown run at 10:54 of the second quarter.
Less than two minutes later, Will Noles and Tucker hooked up for a 20-yard TD pass, and after Coosa’s fourth straight three-and-out, Noles found Carson Wiggins for 46 yards and a touchdown. Edwards’ PAT provided the hosts with a 27-point cushion.
The Conquerors did not cross midfield until the closing minutes of the first half. On a third and 10 from the Westbrook 49, receiver Evan Delp got behind the Warrior defense. Quarterback Trevor Horn delivered the ball and Delp raced into the end zone to pull the visitors within 27-6
Any momentum on the part of the Conquerors was short-lived. Taking over at their own 37, the Warriors drove 45 yards in 90 seconds, setting up Edwards’ 37-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer.
Karmichael Cattling ran the second half kickoff 64 yards to inside the Coosa 20 and then polished off the short series with 9-yard touchdown run that extended the lead to 38-6.
The Conquerors responded with their longest possession of the night, a 10-play, 80-yard drive that was highlighted by a 41-yard yard halfback option pass from Britton to Delp. Britton then hit paydirt from 13 yards out to pull Coosa within 38-12 at 4:05 of the third quarter.
Both teams scored a pair of touchdowns during the fourth quarter.
Karmichael Cattling scored on a 12-yard run at 6:48, Britton and Delp hooked up for a 63-yard TD, Keck took a kickoff to the house for 80 yards and Britton scored from 73 yards out.
“I was pleased with our overall effort, and you’ve got to give [Coosa] credit for continuing to play,” said Drew Noles. “Our schedule gets tougher with each week, and I think that’s a good thing for us.”
Both teams hit the road this Friday (Aug. 20) for non-region action. Westbrook visits Ragland while Coosa Christian travels to Appalachian.