Messenger file photo/Gary Wells
By Adam Crocker/Sports Correspondent
It was homecoming at Jack Osborne Stadium last Friday (Oct. 12), where Westbrook Christian defeated Class 2A, Region 6 rival and Etowah County neighbor Gaston, 48-0, in Rainbow City.
“We had a slow stretch in the second quarter, and I wasn’t happy with that,” said Westbrook head coach Brian Mintz. “We came back in the second half and closed out pretty well. We always like to get an opportunity to play those younger guys. They come out here and work hard at practice and I think that we have some players that are going to be able to contribute and perform in the future.”
After a fumbled opening kickoff from the Bulldogs (0-6), 0-4), the Warriors (4-3,2-2) did not waste time getting into the end zone. An eight-yard scramble by quarterback Jackson Cox and a 21- yard pass from Cox to Brandon Foster (pictured above) set up a seven-yard scoring dash from Hunter Grimes. Keele Coats PAT was blocked, making the score 6-0 with 9:32 remaining in the first period of play.
A quick three-and-out forced Gaston to punt, which set up another score for the hosts. Grimes gained 12 yards on the ground in two plays before Cox connected with Foster through the air for 16 yards. John Ross Morgan’s 15-yard dash and Grimes’ 17-yard run allowed Grimes to punch it in from two yards out. Cox connected with Morgan on the two-point conversion, making it 14-0, with 5:34 remaining in the first quarter.
After an intercepted by P.J. Wells, the hosts were in the position to add six more points to the scoreboard. Cox connected with Wells for 22 yards, which led to a 22-yard rush by Cox for the score. Coats’ kick was good, making it 21-0 with nine seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Gaston’s Kameron Hawkins gained thirty-four yards on five carries to end the half, including a 23- yard dash.
On the opening possession of second half, Cox connected with Foster from about 10 yards out for a score. Coates’ PAT was good, making it score 28-0 just 12 seconds into the third quarter.
After another interception by Wells, the Warriors did not wait long to add another six points. Grimes ran it in from 11 yards out, and Coats PAT made it 35-0, with 9:27 remaining in the third quarter.
A turnover on downs Gaston then set up an 86-yard touchdown run from Grimes, making the score 41-0 with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter.
Westbrook eighth grader Carmichael Cattling punched the ball in from four yards out at the 6:50 mark in the fourth quarter. Layten Crawford’s kick was good, making the score 48-0.
For the Warriors, Grimes rushed 12 times for 144 yards, while Carmichael Cattling gained 81 yards on 12 attempts. Cox added 96 yards on seven carries.
Cox was 9 for 12 n passing for 125 yards. Wells and Foster both had three catches.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jackson Luttrell led the way for Westbrook with eight tackles, including four for a loss. Garrett Hall and Will Vice each had five tackles.
For Gaston, Hawkins rushed 15 times for 91 yards.
“We played tough and we played physical, and that was one thing we wanted,” said Gaston head coach Swaine Morris. “We drove the ball and moved the ball at times [but] we just couldn’t get in the red zone the way we should.
“[We have] some inexperienced guys that [are] playing in some positions that’s hurting us right now. They’re getting some experience each week, and I’m proud of the way they’ve come along as the year’s gone on.”
Both teams continue region play this Friday (Oct. 19). Westbrook hosts Woodland, while Gaston travels to West End.