Messenger file photo by Chris McCarthy
By Michael Hebert/Florence Times-Daily
Westbrook Christian saw its season end in Florence last Friday (Nov. 13) with a 56-21 loss to Mars Hill Bible in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
Top-ranked Mars Hill will play at Aliceville in the quarterfinal round on Nov. 20. The Warriors finished the season at 10-2.
The Panthers (10-2) never trailed after scoring on the second play from scrimmage on a 54-yard pass from Griffin Hanson to Damian Thompson. Hanson finished 6-for-6 for 241 yards and five touchdowns.
“We were in great position but [Hanson] was on the money [with his passes],” said Westbrook head coach Drew Noles. “It wasn’t that we weren’t prepared to the pass; we just weren’t prepared for [Hanson] to throw the ball like he did. He just wasn’t missing, which makes it very tough on a defense.”
Westbrook pulled within 35-14 late in the third quarter before the Panthers scored a pair of quick touchdowns.
“It seemed like every time we were getting back in it, [Mars Hill] had an answer,” said Noles.
Noles said another factor was that the Warriors could not get off the field on third and fourth downs, leading to extended time on the field for the Westbrook defenders.
“Our defense has been unbelievable all year, and our coaches on both sides on the ball have done a wonderful job,” said Noles. “Sometimes you run into a team whose program is a little bit further ahead than what your [program] is. I think Mars Hill has a very good chance to make it to Tuscaloosa [for the state championship game] and win it all. So, you’ve got to give [Mars Hill] a lot of credit.”
For Westbrook, Asher Keck rushed 21 times for 124 yards and a touchdown, while Karmichael Cattling ran for 48 yards and a touchdown on16 carries. Will Noles was 5 for 14 in passing 25 yards and carries seven times for 24 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Scott had three catches for 19 yards.
Noles added that while he didn’t like the scoreboard, he was pleased that the Warriors got to complete a full season given the concerns with COVID-19.
“It didn’t end like we wanted it to, but if you had told us back in July, we were going to get to play 12 games we would’ve never have dreamed it,” he said. “We were very fortunate to get a whole season in. We had to work through some tremendous challenges, and we learned to enjoy every day a little bit more.”
Noles pointed to his 19-member senior class as a key factor in the team’s 2020 success.
“There were some things that we had to do differently than in past seasons, and they handled it in fine fashion. Just a great group of young men. I was tickled to death just to watch them play on Friday nights.”
Chris McCarthy contributed to this article