By Adam Crocker/Sports Correspondent
West End High obtained the fourth and final playoff spot in Class 2A, Region 7 with a 73-28 win over Winston County on Friday (Oct. 21) in Walnut Grove.
It is the Patriots’ first postseason berth since 2010.
“Tonight was a good opportunity to play a lot of young guys,” said West End head coach Kyle Davis. “Our offensive line played great tonight, our skilled guys played great, our defense (played great).”
The Patriots (5-4, 3-3) started the game off strong with an eight-play scoring drive. Jordan Malin’s 5-yard touchdown dash lit the scoreboard up for the hosts. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, making it 6-0 with 10:13 remaining in the first period.
After a quick Winston County three-and out, Malin’s 1-yard TD added yet another six for the home team. The two-point conversion was no good, making it 12-0 with 6:31 remaining in the opening quarter.
After a Winston County punt, a quick four-play, 61-yard drive set up Andre Little’s 23-yard scoring run. The two-point conversion was good, making it 20-0 with 4:15 remaining in the first period of play.
Junior quarterback Payne Stancil added yet another score for the hosts, connecting through the air with Gage Lankford for a 20-yard scoring reception. The two-point conversion was good off of Stancil’s 3-yard run, making 28-0 with 2:10 remaining in the first.
The Double Springs squad answered with a 7-yard touchdown through the air. The two-point conversion was no good, making it 28-6 at the 10:28 mark in the second period.
A 32-yard pass from Stancil to Little added yet another score to the Patriots’ resume. Stancil’s PAT was no good, making it 34-6 with 10:11 remaining in the first half.
Stancil then connected with Daniel Baldwin for a 26-yard scoring pass. The PAT failed, making it 40-6 with 7:49 remaining in the half.
Malin’s 14-yard score on the ground made it 46-6 with 5:34 remaining until halftime.
With 9:57 left in the third quarter, Stancil connected with Dereck Hopper for a 23-yard touchdown. The PAT was good, making it 53-6.
Dylan Nichols then rushed it in the Yellow Jacket end zone from six yards out. The PAT was good, making it 60-6 with 6:34 remaining in the third.
The Yellow Jackets (1-8, 0-6) managed to score with 2:34 remaining in the third. The two-point conversion was good, making it 60-14.
Little’s huge kick return then set-up the home squad from the Jacket 9. Levi Armstrong punched it in with 2:10 remaining in the third. The PAT was good, making it 67-14.
A Winston County TD and two-point conversion made it 67-22 with 5:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots capped off the scoring with a 3-yard dash from Dereck Hopper, making it 73-22 with 2:02 left in the game.
Little rushed eight times for 153 yards, while Malin ran nine times for 68 yards and two scores. Stancil was 6 for 12 in passing for 134 yards.
“I told our kids coming into the game that it was a great opportunity for us to hold and get a playoff spot,” said Davis. “As the game kept rolling, we kept playing the young guys [and] kept coaching the young guys as hard as we could.”
West End closes out the regular season with a trip to Ashville this week.