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SATURDAY NIGHT PREP FOOTBALL: Wildcats win, close in on state crown

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

CAMILLA -- Next.

That was about all that was left to say after Westwood demolished Curtis Baptist, 52-13, Saturday night in the first round of the GISA Class A state playoffs.

Westwood is 11-0 -- and counting ...

"One down, two to go,'' said Westwood quarterback Mason Worsham, who threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more in the rout. "I'm glad this one is over with. It was a big stress reliever. I'm always (nervous) before a game.''

It didn't take long for Worsham to relax. Westwood scored three TDs on its first nine plays, and never slowed down, building a 39-0 halftime lead on only 20 plays from scrimmage.

Worsham's math couldn't be better -- and neither could Westwood. The Wildcats are two victories from a state title, and meet Briarwood in Camilla on Friday in the state semifinals.

When Briarwood's coaches, who didn't show up to see this game, see the film this week, they're going to put an entire posse out to try to find a way to stop freshman running back J.T. Edore, who gained 213 yards and scored two TDs for Westwood. It's not as if Westwood was running it up on Curtis Baptist. Edore carried the ball only nine times.

"He's a freshman, and when he grows up, he's going to be a pretty good running back,'' said Carlton Brooks, one of Westwood's offensive lineman who simply blew Curtis off the ball all night lone.

"The holes were so big,'' Edore said. "They were three-person holes. The blocking was really good.''

Edore, who had a 200-yard game earlier this season, had no idea he had gained more than 200 yards against Curtis (3-8).

"When they told me I was surprised,'' he said. "I thought I had about 150 or something like that.''

His older brother, Jake, ran almost that far on one play.

Seriously.

Jake Edore, who scored on a 2-yard run to lift Westwood to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter, had two interceptions, including one they will be talking about at Westwood for a while. On the final play of the first half, Jake picked off a pass about a yard deep in the end zone, and brought it back, dashing first to his left then cutting across the field and down the right sideline. He was caught at the seven-yard line where the defender knocked the ball out of his hands and out of bounds.

It was a 94-yard return.

"It felt like I ran 150," Jake said. "I didn't know (the defender) was behind me when he knocked the ball out. Yeah, I was tired. I just laid on the ground until one of my teammates helped me get up.''

Thanks to the win, however, nothing could dampen either Edore's spirits.

"We came out to make a statement,'' Jake said. "That just tells the rest of the state that we're for real.''

Since the beginning of region play, Westwood has outscored its opponents 318-67, and both of Curtis Baptist's touchdowns came against the second team in the second half with the clock running.

"Our goal is to get better every week, and I've felt like we've doe that'' said Westwood coach Ross Worsham, whose team had a bye week before opening the playoffs. "I thought we came out sharp. I was concerned about that. We hadn't played in 15 days.''

The kids at Westwood weren't rusty.

Mason, the coach's son, returned a punt back 34 yards to the Curtis 8, and J.T. Edore scored on the next play. Then the Wildcats went 98 yards in two plays. J.T. Edore bolted free from his own 2-yard line for a 52-yard gain to the Curtis 46, and Wosham hit John Vereen in stride and watched Vereen go 46 yards for a TD.

It took five plays for Westwood to score on its next possession when Jake Edore scored on his 2-yard run, and then two plays later Jake picked of a pass and returned it 27 yards to the Curtis 42. On third down, Worsham hit Vereen with a short pass, Vereen broke a tackle and flew down the right sideline for a 34-yard TD and a 26-0 lead.

Worsham later ran for 14-yard TD, then hit Douglas Nobles for a 41-yard TD to close out the half at 39-0 -- and the clock started running, and Westwood started looking toward Briarwood.

"They know the opportunity that's in front of them,'' the coach said. "I think they're hungry. They're not satisfied."