By Chris McCarthy/Editor
Self-inflicted wounds can be lethal.
For proof, look no further than last Friday’s Westbrook/Glencoe High football game in Rainbow City.
The Yellow Jackets lost a pair of turnovers, committed 10 penalties for 95 yards and had a fumbled snap that resulted in a safety, miscues that sparked the host Warriors to a 12-7 win at Jack Osborn Stadium.
Coming out a scoreless first half that saw Glencoe outgain Westbrook 148 to 53 in total yards, the hosts got on the scoreboard courtesy of Chris Underwood’s 35-yard field goal at the 7:48 mark of the third quarter.
The Warrior score was set up by Brien Welch’s interception on the second play of the Jacket’s initial possession of the second half.
The hosts increased their advantage on the ensuing Glencoe series, when Yellow Jacket quarterback Hunter Nunnalley fell on a a fumbled snap in the Glencoe end zone. The resulting safety made it 5-0 with 6:07 remaining in the period.
After the Jackets’ following two possessions ended in punts, the Warriors put together a six-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a six-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jonathan Ford.
The series was highlighted by Ford’s 37-yard pass to DeVernon Marshall, who got behind the Jacket defense and made it to the Glencoe 43.
“That was a big catch when he ran the seam right there, because the Glencoe guy had pretty good coverage,” said Westbrook head coach Tony Osborne. “DeVernon just made a great catch over his shoulder, and that was a big play for us.”
Underwood tacked on the PAT, pushing the Warrior lead to 12-0 with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter.
Glencoe finally came away with points on its fourth trip inside Warrior territory.
An 18-yard pass from Nunnalley to Daylon Freeman provided the Yellow Jackets with a first down at the Warrior 5. It looked as if the hosts had the makings of a successful goal line stand after the visitors lost three yards on the next three plays, but on fourth and goal Nunnally found Daniel Otwell at the 1-yard line, and the senior tight end bulled into the end zone for the score.
Joseph Bright added the extra point, cutting the Westbrook advantage to five points with 4:05 left in the game.
That was as close as Glencoe got. The following Warrior possession stalled out on the Glencoe 35, but the drive consumed all but a minute of clock time. The Jackets made it to their own 42 before handing the ball over on downs, and Ford took a knee to end the game.
“Glecnoe had a great plan defensively, and I expected that,” said Osborne. “It was tough to move the ball, and we had to work for it. We knew that if our defense did its part, it would be a defensive struggle.”
Osborne pointed to his defense’s big plays in the second half as key to the win.
“I said before the season that we had the chance to have the best defense we’ve ever had here. We’ve got a lot of speed and a lot of guys that get after it, and they really played lights-out tonight.”
The Yellow Jackets out-gained Westbrook 148-53 in yardage in the first half, including a 65 to 9 margin on the ground. Glencoe ended up with 224-222 advantage in total yards for the game.
“This was my fault, because I didn’t have our kids ready to focus on the little things,” said Glencoe head coach Lee Ozmint. “We we had our opportunities but we shot ourselves in the foot way too many times. Both teams made some mistakes, but I thought that we’d be able to pull through and focus.
“Westbrook’s a good football team, and they took advantage of the young players we have. They’re a senior-laden football team that had a lot of great athletes and is well-coached. The effort was there for us, but we’ve got to be more disciplined, and that’s my fault.”
In his first varsity start at quarterback, Ford completed 11-of-26 passes for 135 yards. Marshall and Jake Kilgo each caught three passes.
Jordan McCartney led the Warriors in rushing with 44 yard on nine carries.
The game’s opening possession ended on a missed field goal by Glencoe. Marshall intercepted a pass on the Jackets’ second series, but the Warriors were forced to punt for the second straight time.
The teams exchanged punts during the first portion of the second quarter, and neiher squad made it past the opposing team’s 29-yard line in the first half.
For Glencoe, Nunnally was 13-for-26 in passing for 138 yards. Austin Hancock caught four passes for 47 yards, while Otwell had three receptions for 36 yards.
Thomas Ozmint led the Yellow Jackets in rushing with 68 yards on 15 carries.
Mason Brown led Glencoe in tackels with 14, followed by Blake Christian with 12 and Houston Word with eight. Brown also had two sacks.
Both teams begin region play on Friday, with Westbrook visiting Fyffe and Glencoe hosting Weaver.