By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Westbrook Christian’s state playoff hopes were hooked on life support last Friday (Oct. 9) in Rainbow City.
Facing a fierce Weaver pass rush that produced nine sacks and disrupted any kind of offensive rhythm, the Warriors suffered a 40-14 loss in a pivotal Class 3A, Region 6 game.
The Bearcats (4-3, 4-1), who allowed 196 total yards while limiting the hosts to just three rushing yards, most likely wrapped up the fourth and final playoff berth in the region. Westbrook (2-5, 2-3) remains technically alive for the postseason but must defeat fifth-ranked Piedmont on the road next week and Ashville on Oct. 23 while relying on a good amount of assistance along the way. Westbrook lost earlier in the season to Glencoe and Walter Wellborn, the other teams ahead of the Warriors in the region standings.
Weaver rolled up 405 total yards while turning two Westbrook turnovers into 14 points and scoring a pair of touchdowns on special teams.
The closest that the Warriors got in the second half was at 33-14 following Joseph Schauer’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Schauer. Westbrook managed only 15 yards and two first downs the rest of the way, however, while the visitors tacked on one more touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
“[Weaver] controlled the line of scrimmage on us, and when that happens it makes it hard to compete,” said Westbrook head coach Tony Osborne. “We had some chances that we didn’t take advantage of, and we had some protection issues, especially in the second half. But Weaver just outplayed us and deserved to win. They were obviously a better team tonight, and my hat’s off to them.”
Joseph Schauer was 10-for-20 in passing for 193 yards. Andrew Schauer had four receptions for 72 yards, while Gilbert Rosas caught three passes for 40 yards.
Weaver took a 7-0 lead on the game’s opening possession, an 80-yard, six-play series that resulted in Paul Hubbard’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Goodman two minutes into the contest.
The Warriors responded with a scoring drive of their own, highlighted by a 32-yard pass play from Joseph Schauer to Justis Glassford. Westbrook then went for it on fourth down and goal, with Joseph Schauer doing the honors from five yards out. Will Dickson’s PAT tied the game at 7-7 at the 5:03 mark of the first quarter.
Matters quickly took a turn for the worse for the hosts, as Craig Copeland returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for the touchdown and a 13-7 Bearcat lead.
The Warriors were forced to punt on their next possession, which eventually led to Gio Mosley’s 3-yard scoring run and a 20-7 Weaver advantage with nine minutes to go in the first half.
Caeden Godfrey’s interception later in the second period provided the hosts with an opportunity to get back within striking distance, but Westbrook fumbled the ball away two plays later, a miscue that resulted in Hubbard’s 34-yard touchdown strike to Cody Ortiz. Riley Benavidez’s extra point placed the Warriors in a 27-7 hole with 2:28 left before intermission.
Westbrook got another chance to turn a turnover into points shortly before halftime when Chandler Richards recovered a fumble at the Bearcat 24-yard line.
A 25-yard pass from Joseph Schauer to Rosas set up the hosts at the 11, but the drive went for naught when Tyrick Hall intercepted the ball as time ran out.
The Warriors opened the second half with the ball but went three-and-out, and Goodman took the ensuing punt 55 yards to the house to give Weaver a 33-7 lead and for all intents and purposes put the game out of reach.
The Bearcats closed out the scoring with Dalton Hamby’s 15-yard touchdown run at 7:33 of the fourth quarter.
Hubbard rushed for 78 yards on six carries while completing 6-of-7 passes for 107 yards. Copeland added 77 yards on 10 carries.
“We’ve been outmanned in a lot of games this year and gave up a lot of size on the line, but our kids always play hard,” said Osborne. “I just told our kids that mathematically we’ve still got a shot (at the playoffs), so we’ll practice hard this week and see how we respond.”