Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

DAWSON -- Westwood's seniors had never beaten Terrell Academy as varsity football players until Friday.

To do it on the Eagles' home turf, while clinching a region title and completing an unbeaten 10-0 regular season made it oh, so sweet.

The Wildcats downed Terrell Academy, 24-14, to solidify their claim to the No. 1 ranking in GISA Class A, while capturing the Region 2-A championship in the process.

"The scenarios were perfect because we're rivals," Westwood senior John Vereen said. "It's unexplainable how good it feels."

Vereen caught a 70-yard touchdown from junior quarterback Mason Worsham early in the third quarter to put the Wildcats up, 21-6. Worsham then broke loose on an 84-yard scamper in the second quarter to help build the Westwood lead and finished with 86 yards rushing and 74 yards passing.

"It's always fun to beat Terrell," Worsham said. "For a region championship, it's that much better. They're a good team and we knew they'd come out fighting."

Terrell's Zach Hurst rallied the Eagles late by connecting with Chandler Freeman on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and a two-point conversion pulled the Eagles within a score at 21-14 with 11:55 to play. They'd get no closer.

Alex Chambless' 26-yard field goal with 4:04 remaining put Westwood (10-0, 6-0 GISA Region 2-A) up two scores, 24-14, to seal the region title. The last time the Wildcats went undefeated in the regular season was 2001, a year in which they went on to beat Terrell Academy for the state championship.

"I'm proud of (the seniors) and the whole team," Westwood head coach Ross Worsham said. "They've come close a couple of times but just fell short."

Coach Worsham played on two national champion Georgia Southern teams, a state champion Mitchell-Baker team and was an assistant coach on a state title team at Lowndes High. None of those teams finished unscathed in the regular season.

"Never been 10-0," Ross said. "It's something that doesn't happen a whole lot."

Without its leading rusher Todd Beaver (sickness), Terrell Academy (4-4-1, 4-1 Region 2-A) won almost every statistical category but the one on the scoreboard. The Eagles' grinding rushing attack controlled the ball for the majority of the game, running 70 total plays from scrimmage, compared to Westwood's 30.

The Wildcats ran just one play in the third quarter -- Vereen's touchdown catch -- and Terrell doubled them on first downs, 14-7.

"We played extremely hard," Terrell head coach Bill Murdock said. "We controlled the time of possession, but stats don't mean anything. They've got a good club. They're sound in what they do."

After the Eagles opened the game with a scoring drive, culminating in Hurst's 1-yard quarterback sneak to go ahead, 6-0, Westwood's Daniel Hays had arguably the biggest play of the night when he blocked a punt that led to Jake Edore's 14-yard touchdown run.

"The blocked punt was huge," Ross Worsham said. "They had run it right down our throats, but we didn't panic. That was a big turning point."

Westwood's three touchdown drives on the night took a total of one minute and 11 seconds off the clock. The Edore Brothers, senior Jake and freshman J.T., rushed for 40 and 41 yards, respectively.

Terrell's Levi Griffin was the Eagles' workhouse, carrying the ball 26 times for 110 yards, eating up first down after first down. Terrell ran the ball 60 times for 224 yards.

The Eagles must win next week against Randolph Southern to capture the No. 2 seed in the region and a first-round home playoff game. Westwood is off in the final week of the regular season before opening the playoffs at home Nov. 12.