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Football: West impressive in scrimmage
Starters post 31-14 lead on Central Gwinnett
sports-west1-websmall JP
West Forsyth quarterback A.J. Erdely takes off on a 30-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of Fridays scrimmage against Central Gwinnett at The Den. - photo by Jared Putnam

Scoring points shouldn’t be a problem for West Forsyth this season.

Senior quarterback A.J. Erdely threw for 159 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in only one half as West downed Central Gwinnett 38-20 in a scrimmage on Friday night at The Den.

"We were ready to be out here on the field," Erdely said. "The repetition in practice prepared us for tonight. I mean, we do a crazy number of reps and you can tell that everyone played their part and helped."

Erdely, who is verbally committed to Middle Tennessee, completed 8 of his 11 pass attempts on the night.

After starting at Central Gwinnett’s 46-yard line, Erdely found Hampton McConnel for a 32-yard gain on a play action rollout on West’s second play from scrimmage. Trevor O’Brien rewarded the effort with a two-yard blast up the middle for a Wolverine touchdown with 8:24 left in the first quarter.

It took only three plays for West to score again after a quick three-and-out by Central Gwinnett. Erdely connected with O’Brien for an 11-yard touchdown strike to the left side of the end zone to boost the score to 14-0.

Central Gwinnett responded on the ensuing possession with a 70-yard, 13-play scoring drive capped off with a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Emmanuel Westmoreland to Chris Shelling.

Momo Camara’s 22-yard run and Jake Wieczorek’s 15-yard run set up a 43-yard field goal from Timmy Hartshorn, making the score 17-7 to close the first quarter.

Central Gwinnett closed the gap at the start of the second quarter with a 7-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Hawkins.

After the touchdown, the Wolverine defense, led by Camara, stepped up and allowed just one first down, 48 rushing yards and 51 passing yards for the rest of the quarter.

"We didn’t try to show too much on defense," said Camara who is verbally committed to South Carolina. "We stuck to the basic stuff and it worked for us and we executed the plan. You’re going to see more disguising next week.

"When we got out here, we just turned it on."

On West’s next possession after Central Gwinnett brought the score within three, Ty Anderson hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Erdely in the right side of the end zone.

The defense forced another punt and allowed Erdely and the offense just enough time to score again. Erdely sidestepped defenders as he scrambled his way to a 30-yard touchdown with only 1:16 left in the half to bring the score to 31-14.

It looked like West would add to its score after Stephen Gallagher broke off a 45-yard run midway through the third quarter, but a fumble on the two-yard line negated the drive.

Central Gwinnett got on the board again with a six-yard touchdown run by Morris Mitchell, but a missed extra point cut the lead to 31-20 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Wolverines threw the ball only twice in the fourth quarter, but backup quarterback Jonathon Conway made his pass count as he completed a touchdown pass to Kyran Ochocki for the game’s final points.

"It’s finally good to play against someone else," West head coach Frank Hepler said. "We still have a long way to go and a lot of improvements to make. It’s good to score some points, but at the same time we gave up some points.

"You’re going to see a balanced offense from us. We’re going to try to be 50-50, very balanced."

West Forsyth will travel to Gainesville Thursday night to open the regular season.