By James Swift
For the Forsyth County News
CARTERSVILLE — West Forsyth fell short in its upset bid at Cartersville on Friday, falling 28-17 as the Purple Hurricanes won their 60th straight regular-season game.
Cartersville quarterback Stratton Tripp hit senior Devonte Ross early and often in the first quarter, connecting with the versatile wide receiver on a roughly 30-yard pass just two plays into the game.
West Forsyth appeared to make the interception, but it was overturned due to a pass interference call against the Wolverines. Seconds later, Tripp tagged Ross on an 11-yard touchdown pass to get the Purple Hurricanes on the board first.
West Forsyth and Cartersville then exchanged punts, with senior Wolverines running back Daba Fofana breaking off a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 7-7 with about two minutes left in the quarter.
Containing West Forsyth’s potent run game was no easy task, according to Cartersville head coach Conor Foster.
“They’re bigger than us across the board and their running back is really physical, he just never gives up on a play,” he said. “I thought our guys did a tremendous job of rallying to the ball and gang tackling, and just playing together.”
Cartersville wasted no time at all finding the Wolverines’ end zone on the team’s next possession. On third-and-5, senior Evan Slocum lobbed a blistering 41-yard touchdown pass to Ross to make it 14-7, Hurricanes, with less than 20 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
West Forsyth relied heavily on Fofana on the Wolverines’ next possession, which culminated with sophomore quarterback Keegan Stover hitting junior Ashton Van Horn on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Cartersville went three-and-out on the team’s next possession, as West Forsyth gained its first lead of the game via a 50-yard field goal from senior kicker Alex Wilson.
The Wolverines’ 17-14 lead, however, was short-lived. After a plethora of personal fouls, the Wolverines more or less invited the Hurricanes into their own red zone. Eventually, senior running back Quante Jennings closed the first half with a thunderous 5-yard touchdown run with just 34 seconds left in the quarter.
Cartersville entered halftime with a 21-17 lead.
West Forsyth couldn’t make it past midfield on the opening possession of the second half, having to punt away the ball from the 50-yard line. Despite starting from the Hurricanes’ own 13, it didn’t take long for Cartersville to enter Wolverines’ territory with a nearly 50-yard pass from Tripp to Slocum setting up a 24-yard Jennings touchdown with 8:52 to go in the third.
“West Forsyth does so much blitzing and mixing up pressures and dropping different people,” Foster said. “I thought our kids on offense did a good job of staying within themselves and not trying to do too much, and taking advantage of the plays when they’re there.”
It remained a 28-17 contest for the rest of the night — although the Wolverines certainly had their fair share of squandered scoring opportunities.
While sophomore defensive back Grey Brockman did manage to intercept Tripp late in the third, the Wolverines simply ended up punting the ball back to Cartersville from the team’s own 44.
In the fourth quarter, Wilson missed two field goal attempts for the Wolverines — one from 47 yards out and the other a failed 38-yarder.
West (1-1) has a bye next week and will host Walton Sept. 25.