West Forsyth head coach Adam Clack doesn’t want his players to get ahead of themselves, especially now that the Wolverines have cracked top-10 polls and drawn increasing interest from recruiters.
Friday’s contest against Clack’s former boss, Frank Hepler, and the Forsyth Central Bulldogs finished with a result up Clack’s alley. The Wolverines were far from perfect, yet still walked off Forsyth County Stadium’s turf with a 24-7 win to remain unscathed in region play.
West (6-1, 2-0 Region 5-7A) has now outscored opponents in league play 55-13. The Wolverines’ smothering defense allowed just 156 yards to Central, including only 58 on 24 carries from tailback Sabrian Howard.
But Central made noise as well—three interceptions from its defensive backfield and two forced turnover-on-downs helped keep the home crowd energized throughout the night. Jacob Woodard, Hunter Cagle and Parker Jeppson all picked West’s Kiernen Hamilton, while Hunter Stephens, Sebastian Legarra and Jacob Ward all had sacks as well. It was an unfamiliar outing for the prolific passer, but something that Hepler wasn’t surprised by.
“I coached with Adam (Clack) for seven years,” Hepler said with a grin. “Really though, we just simplified things and let our kids go make plays. We knew they have great athletes, so we just made our kids go out and play hard.”
West’s errors also included 12 penalties for a total of 110 yards, including three personal fouls. Without the turnovers, sacks and procedural mishaps the game probably would have not been nearly as close—especially considering the Wolverines still managed 512 total yards of offense.
“Our team is on a very thin line between being very good, and being very mediocre,” Clack explained. “When we are 100-percent focused we can play with anyone in the state, but all it takes is some mental errors and lack of focus and we can be completely different. So we’ve got to keep focused. Our goal is to win region, we are on the right track, but there’s obviously a lot for us to work on.”
Hamilton led West straight down the field on the game’s first drive—a 7-play, 70-yard scoring effort capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Jones. West extended its lead to 14-0 when he hit Zach Burns up the seam for a 51-yard touchdown with 6:18 to go, then they struck again in the third after a Grant Torgerson interception when Hamilton hit a diving Ben Bresnahan for a score.
West’s Christian Bass then intercepted Central backup Tristan Rose on the next play, but Woodard returned the favor for the Bulldogs’ third interception on the next step. Central finally got on the board in the third quarter when Rose, who entered the game in the second quarter following an injury to starter Brad Thiltgen, found a wide-open Mark Heard for a 29-yard touchdown.
West added a 28-yard field goal from Jones with 4:33 in the fourth.
Clay Crocker rushed 11 times for 100 yards to lead the Wolverines on the ground, while Torgerson carried 10 times, all in the second half, for 89. Hamilton finished 13 of 21 for 243 yards and three touchdowns to make up for the three turnovers.
Torgerson finished with a sack and an interception on defense as well.
Rose completed 7 of 14 attempts for 77 yards and the score, along with the interception, while Heard finished with five catches for 71 yards. Howard had a run of 60 yards called back in the fourth quarter for leaping over a defender.
West Forsyth can put itself in the region driver’s seat if it can defeat Lambert at home next week, while Central (3-3, 0-2) will have a shot at its first league victory when it faces Milton on the road.