West End (0-3, 0-2) at Westbrook Christian (1-2, 0-2)
Series record: West End 7, Westbrook 3
Last meeting: 2009 Westbrook 32, West End 7
Last week: Fyffe 42, West End 6; Ider 39, Westbrook 34
By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent
Don’t look now but after a couple of years absence, the West rivalry is back.
The past two years, West End was in a different region but the Patriots have been reunited with Westbrook in Class 2A, Region 7.
“It’s been a pretty good rivalry over the years but has cooled down somewhat,” Westbrook coach Tony Osborne said. “They went up to 3A for a little while and they were in another region.
“And like us, they’ve had a tough early season.”
Neither of these teams is as bad as their record indicates, as both squads had to play powerful Ider and Fyffe already.
West End has traditionally run the Wing-T offense but has been away from it for a few years. Now Randy Hallmark has brought the offense back.
“He’s one of the best there is at coaching the Wing-T,” Osborne said of his counterpart. “They’ve got a big line and some good backs, so between the rivalry aspect and that, I expect a pretty good game.”
Meanwhile, Westbrook airs it out a lot more. Last week, quarterback Jonathan Ford completed 22-of-38 passes for 316 yards and five touchdowns. DeVernon Marshall, who caught four of those scoring passes, finished with 10 receptions for 151 yards, while Darrell Whatley caught four passes for 96 yards.
“They’re quarterback is really good at finding the open man,” Hallmark said. “The receivers are good at getting open. And if all else fails, Ford is able to hurt you with his legs if he gets chased out of the pocket.”
In a peculiarity last week, Ider led 21-0 after one quarter, only to see the Warriors score four times in the second quarter to take a 28-21 lead into halftime.
This will be West End’s first look at a spread team this season.
“We’ve challenged the defensive backs to cover their man and not let him get behind you,” Hallmark said. “While the ball’s in the air, anything can happen. If you’re in position, you can create a turnover instead of giving up a big play.”
Along with Gaston, Westbrook and West End currently share third place in the region.