SNELLVILLE – West Forsyth fell just short to Brookwood in a thrilling 45-42 contest in Snellville on Friday night in the first round of the Class 7A state playoffs.
“We ran out of time,” West head coach Adam Clack said. “Unfortunately we made one-too-many mistakes, I think you can say that for every one of our losses this year, and that’s what hurts. But when you look at the bigger picture and the true meaning of what football is, you see boys become men, and we saw a lot of that tonight.”
The Wolverines (7-4) faced two big deficits of 17 and 24 in this ballgame, but still managed to climb back into the game.
After two early fumbles in the first quarter, the Wolverines found themselves in a 17-0 hole before they could even blink.
“We needed a challenge so we spotted ‘em some points in the first half,” Clack said with a laugh.
Brookwood’s average starting field position on first quarter drives was the Wolverines’ 27-yard line.
West opened the second quarter with a 15-play, 80-yard drive and then forced a three-and-out on the Broncos’ ensuing possession. A bad snap on the punt allowed West to take over at the Broncos’ 3-yard line. Grant Torgerson punched it in to get the Wolverines back into the game and cut the lead to 17-14.
But then Brookwood (8-3) came right back with three straight touchdown drives, all of which were scored by Matthew Hill.
Hill finished the game with 129 yards and three touchdowns through the air and 74 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Brookwood forced four first half turnovers on their way to a 38-14 half time lead.
But the Wolverines wouldn’t go away.
“We’ve talked about grit and adversity and responding since January,” Clack said. “We didn’t get the result, but it’s rewarding to see a team embody that on the highest stage in the 7A playoffs against a historic program. Our team had every reason to quit. It would’ve been easy to just roll over, but man, these guys came out swingin’ in the second half.”
West dominated the third quarter. They put together three straight scoring drives to start the second half, cutting the Broncos’ lead to 38-35 going into the fourth.
“They’re just a bunch of dogs,” Torgerson said of his teammates. “Every single one of ‘em never quit. We went into halftime heads up. We knew were gonna come out like that, we had no doubt in our minds.”
Torgerson was a catalyst for his team, playing physical, and running for 80 yards and a touchdown in the second half, finishing the game with 95 yards and two touchdowns.
After Brookwood extended the lead to 45-35 with a fourth-and-goal conversion from the 1-yard line with nine minutes left, West responded with a fourth down conversion of its own.
The Wolverines’ were looking at a fourth-and-5 from the Broncos’ 30-yard line when Kiernan Hamilton hit Thomas Arundale for a 30-yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 45-42 with just over six minutes to play.
“In the first half we were thinking way too much,” Hamilton said. “In the second half, we were clicking, moving, and it was working for us.”
Hamilton finished the game going 24-for-36 for 294 yards and three touchdowns.
With the Wolverines’ defense playing well in the second half, Clack elected not to go for the onside kick, but Brookwood was able to put together a physical 12-play drive to run out the game’s final 6:11 to preserve the victory.
West outscored Brookwood 28-7 in the second half, but just couldn’t quite get over the hump. And while they didn’t get the outcome they wanted, Clack couldn’t say enough of about how proud he was of his team’s effort.
“A lot of the players challenged each other when we went into halftime,” Clack said. “There wasn’t any real rah-rah or yelling and screaming. We just talked about at halftime, how do you wanna go out? What do you want these next two quarters to say about you? It speaks volumes to the character, the grit, the resilience that these men have.”