West Forsyth answered its wake up call at home on Friday night, beating North Forsyth 55-7 and remaining in contention for a home playoff game.
The Wolverines (7-2, 3-1 Region 5-7A) entered their game against Lambert last week with a lot on the line. The current group of seniors had never beaten the Longhorns, and a victory would give West control of its own destiny for a region championship. They entered the game ranked No. 8 in Class 7A, and with their talent-loaded roster, the Wolverines seemed to finally have the team to eclipse Lambert.
But with a 17-7 loss, the outlook and expectation of the season all came crashing to a close. They could not control if they won region. They were not ranked. The only thing that West could control was the outcome of the games left to play. North Forsyth (4-5, 1-3) was first.
North was coming off a 42-7 loss to South Forsyth, a game in which they failed to score after the first quarter.
Unlike last week, West’s first touchdown of the game was not their last. Kiernan Hamilton’s first pass of the game was a 52-yard touchdown to Bryce Jones, and his third pass of the game was a 48-yard touchdown to Ben Bresnahan.
West’s offense had fluidity and was dynamic throughout the first half. The running game got involved via the legs of Trevor Hickman. Hickman busted a 69-yard run following an interception by Cade Vela, and Hickman eventually finished the drive with a one-yard run.
“Coming off that game last week, our offense wasn’t clicking,” Hamilton said. “Our defense played so well, we just couldn’t back them up, but this week we knew we had to focus on doing our job and it showed this game.”
It was the Wolverines’ defense that set up the offensive success. In the first half, North only managed to put together one drive that saw a first down (and eventually a touchdown). The Wolverines’ defense forced four three-and-outs and two turnovers in the first half alone.
A key component to the defensive dominance was and continues to be the improving health of Kansas State-commit Eli Huggins. Huggins has battled back injuries all season long, leaving him a shell of himself when he is on the field. Huggins looked like the player that had him in contention for county defensive player of the year last season, finishing with two sacks and dominating all night.
“Throughout this season, I’ve had a couple back injuries,” Huggins said, “but it’s getting better, and I am finally starting to feel like myself towards the end of this season, right when I need to be.”
West had a 35-7 lead entering the third quarter, and sequential 75-yard and 42-yard passing touchdowns from Hamilton to Zach Burns put the game away.
“I think our guys came out tonight obviously with a little chip on their shoulder from last week,” West head coach Adam Clack said. “I couldn’t be more proud of their effort.”