Bobcats on the board: Early County 21, Westover 14

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- For the second straight week, Westover saw its hopes of victory crushed by big plays.

Early County scored on a long touchdown run of 72 yards, notched another on a 91-yard kick off return to open the second half and recovered a fumble inside the Westover 15 to set up its final TD to earn its first win of the season, a 21-14 victory against the Patriots at Hugh Mills Stadium Friday night.

Westover, which also gave up a kickoff return and a pick- six at Bainbridge last week, fell to 1-3 with the loss.

"This was a very tough game to lose," Westover coach Octavia Jones said. "We are killing ourselves by giving up these long plays. The kids are fighting hard, but we have to keep working on this and do something to stop it, and it starts with the coaching staff. We'll fix this."

Early County, which had lost three close games coming in, improved to 1-3 on the back of senior Quay'van Levatte, who ran for 118 yards on just 12 carries, scored on a TD run of 72 yards and topped it off with an interception as the final horn sounded.

"Oh, no ... I've had better games than (Friday)," Levatte said afterwards when asked what he thought of his own performance. "It doesn't really matter now because it feels so good to finally get our first win of the year. We really put our hearts into this game and it worked out for us."

Westover broke on top 7-0 on its second possession of the night with an 11-play, 88-yard drive that ate up seven minutes of the clock. Steve Bowens scored from the 5 and Danny Brown added the PAT with 1:26 remaining in the first quarter.

Early went three and out on its next possession and Westover then drove from its 33 to the Bobcats' 24 where Pats QB Justin Taylor was intercepted in the end zone by Camery Flowers.

Two plays later, Levatte turned the corner on the right side on a 72-yard scoring run with 1:34 to go in the second period that tied the game 7-7 at the half.

The first 60 seconds of the third quarter were a nightmare for Westover, as Flowers took the second-half kickoff right up the middle en route to a 91-yard touchdown return to make it 14-7 Early. Then the Pats' Dalviness Greene lost the handle of the subsequent kickoff, and the loose ball was recovered by Early's Tracy Smith at the Westover 13.

Two plays later, Ladonis Bryant crashed into the end zone for a 21-7 Early County lead less than a minute into the third quarter.

"Westover is a very good football team, and we were lucky to make more big plays than they did," Early coach Trey Woolf said. "It feels good to get our first win because our guys have played hard all year. This game will help us a lot."

Westover closed the gap to 21-14 with 2:32 left in the third quarter after T.J. Wester recovered a fumble at the Bobcats' 23 and moments later Taylor hit wideout Kenneth Towns for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

The Patriots had one more chance to either tie or win late in the game after driving from its 31 to a second and four at the Early 9 yard line. But a delay penalty followed by a grounding flag pushed the Pats back to the 27, where they eventually turned the ball over on downs with 2:44 to go.

Westover was led by the passing of Taylor, who hit 12 of 20 attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown. He was also intercepted twice.

Early County will visit Thomasville next Friday, while Westover faces Dougherty at Hugh Mills Stadium.