Second-half surge pulls Westbrook past Patriots


By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

For the first 24 minutes of play last Friday (Sept. 20) in Walnut Grove, it appeared that West End’s Levi Weems would single-handedly get the Patriots their first win of the season at the expense of Class 2A, Area 6 rival Westbrook Christian. 

The senior quarterback/defensive back returned a pass interception 65 yards for a touchdown, thrown a 32-yard touchdown pass and returned a fumble 30 yards for a score on the final play of the first half. 

With West End trailing 21-20 at intermission however, the momentum slowly slip from the Patriots’ grasp. With Weems  sidelined for the remainder of the game, Westbrook scored 24 unanswered points en route to a 45-20 victory. 

On the Warriors’ second possession of the game, Weems intercepted  a Will Appleton  pass and weaved his way 65 yards for the first points of the night. A two-point conversion run by Chase Blanton gave West End the 8-0 lead with 1:14 to go in the opening stanza.  

Westbrook answered less than a minute later when Appleton threw a 58-yard scoring strike to Noah Hunt. The two-point attempt failed and West End held an 8-6 lead at the quarter’s end.

Westbrook opened the second quarter driving 29 yards in five plays for a touchdown following a West End fake punt. Appleton’s two-point conversion run gave the Warriors a 14-8 lead with 8:48 to go in the half. 

An Appleton-to-Brein Welch touchdown pass soon added to the Westbrook lead, and Chris Underwood’s PAT with 50 to go in the half made it 21-8 in favor of the visitors.

But the hosts closed within 21-14 when Levi Weems threw a 32-yard touchdown strike to Rhett Lister with seven seconds to go in the first half. 

West End was able to reach pay dirt one more time before the half when Weems returned a fumble recovery 30 yards for a touchdown to make the halftime score 21-20 at intermission.

But with Weems unable to play in the second half, the momentum soon shifted to the Warriors. 

Underwood’s 27-yard field goal increased the Westbrook lead to 24-20, and Appleton’s 1-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter gave the Warriors a 31-20 advantage after 36 minutes.

Westbrook added two fourth-quarter scores to nail down the win. Appleton threw a 21-yard TD pass with 9:15 remaining and Dalvin Lewis scored on a 7-yard run with 3:38 left.

Appleton was 13-of-25 in passing for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Noah Hunt caught five passes for 136 yards.

Weems was 9-of-12 in  passing for 117 yards and one touchdown. In the second half, Dylan Gregory went 2-for-3 for 27 yards.

Both teams take a break from region play this week, as Westbrook hosts Ohatchee and West End entertains Cleveland.

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