Messenger file photo by Gary Wells
By Eddie Edwards/Sports Correspondent
Westbrook Christian won its first postseason game since 2010 with a 25-22 victory over Aliceville in the first round of the Class 2A state football playoffs on Nov. 8 at Aliceville.
The Warriors (8-3) travel to Higdon this Friday, Nov. 15, to face North Sand Mountain.
After a missed 46-yard field goal on the Westbrook’s opening possession of the game, the Warrior defense opened the scoring when Cade Phillips forced an Aliceville fumble and Steven Smith recovered the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Will Edwards added the PAT for the 7-0 lead 13 seconds into the second quarter.
The Yellow Jackets (9-2) responded later in the second quarter on Ty Williams’ 50-yard touchdown pass to Landon Ball. The two-point conversion attempt failed, however, keeping Westbrook ahead at 7-6.
A few minutes later, however, Williams and Ball hooked up once more on a TD pass. The two-point conversion was good to provide Aliceville with a 14-7 advantage that held up until halftime.
The Warriors cashed in on another Yellow Jacket turnover when an Aliceville returner fumbled a pooch kick by Edwards on the opening kickoff of the second half. John Reese Bellew recovered the ball at the Yellow Jacket 14-yard line and ran for 11 yards to the 3. Quarterback Will Noles (pictured above) took it to the house on the next play, and Edwards’ PAT tied the game at 14-14.
Wishing to keep the momentum going, Westbrook attempted an onside the on the ensuing kickoff, and Garrett Hall recovered for the Warriors. Later in the series, Noles completed an eight-yard pass to Joe Tucker on a fourth-down and-eight to keep the drive alive. Noles ran the ball up the middle on four of the next six plays, his final carry resulting in a six-yard touchdown. Westbrook then faked the PAT and Noles passed to Bellew for the two-point conversion attemptto put the Warriors up 22-14 with 2:20 left in the third quarter.
On their first possession of the second half, Aliceville fumbled away the ball. Westbrook advanced to the Yellow Jacket 29 before settling for Edwards’ 39-yard field goal and a 25-14 lead.
That advantage was short-lived. Brandon Thomas fielded the next kickoff at the Aliceville 15 and eluded any and all would-be tacklers for the touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed, however, allowing Westbrook to maintain a three-point lead.
An interception by Cade Phillips gave the Warriors the ball with approximately three minutes to go in the game but Westbrook failed to make a fourth down conversion attempt on the ensuing drive. On fourth down and with 1:25 on the clock, Williams completed a pass to midfield under heavy pressure to give the Yellow Jackets some hope.
But a Warrior defender sacked Williams for a one-yard loss and Aliceville drew consecutive illegal procedure penalties that moved the hosts back another 10 yards. With 6.6 seconds remaining, Williams completed a pass to the Westbrook 26, but with less than a second on the clock, Joe Tucker batted down Williams’ desperation pass to secure the win.
For the Warriors, Karmichael Cattling rushed for 76 yards on 29 carries, while Noles ran 12 times for 36 yards and two touchdowns.
Jai’Shawn Cattling had seven tackles, followed by Derrick Graham with five and Will Vice and Smith with four each. Graham, Vice and Carl Henry each had two sacks.