By Sam Meredith
For the Forsyth County News
The first half of West Forsyth’s matchup against Peachtree Ridge on Friday night had multiple signs why both teams came into the game at an 0-3 record.
In the first half of West’s 28-7 win, both teams combined to commit 14 penalties and complete only 12 passes. The running games were not working either, as neither team could break off a run further than 5 yards at a time. However, in the second half West finally played the defensive game that head coach Shawn Cahill has been waiting for.
The Wolverines were able to force two turnovers in the second half thanks to some timely interceptions.
“That is the way we want to win games,” Cahill said, “with our defense on the field getting turnovers and scoring off turnovers … We really watched some good film on this team. This was a sloppy game to start with, but our defense stepped up and used what they learned about this team to their advantage in the second half.”
The faulty first half did feature some scoring, though. Towards the end of the first quarter, West quarterback Blake Whitfield connected with tight end Garrett Woodall for an impressive throw-and-catch to put the Wolverines up 7-0. Midway through the second quarter, though, Peachtree tied it up on a 40-yard touchdown run.
West opened the scoring in the third quarter with a three-yard run from Whitfield halfway through the period, and the score remained at that margin until just over halfway through the fourth quarter, when West Forsyth safety Rickey Zacholski picked off a high throw at the Lions 40-yard line.
Senior running back Stephon Bland broke out for a 40-yard run on the very next play for the score to give West a 21-7 lead.
“I just try to keep my feet moving,” Bland said. “They were stacking the box, because teams understand that we are a run-first team, and I got a nice hole and hit it.”
Another interception, this one a pick-six by Alex Parris right before the final horn, sealed the final margin for the Wolverines.
Even though it was an especially sloppy affair on Friday, Bland was confident that next Friday, when the Wolverines head to Chattanooga to face McCallie, will be even better.
“Next week we just have to focus on being 1-0,” Bland said. “Every week is a fresh start now.”
West Forsyth’s first three losses were by single digits to playoff level teams, now the Wolverines finally have that elusive win on their record, sitting at 1-3.