Westover's Dalviness Greene made it look easy for much of the night Friday as he sped by Modzelle Atkins and Mitchell County en route to a 42-7 win.
CAMILLA -- His first name is Dalviness, but they call him Deion. The last name is Greene -- Greene with an "e" at the end. He's the tailback at Westover.
They found him this week, found him and bombarded his Facebook page with one message after another.
"People were talking a lot of noise all week,'' Greene said. 'They were sending me messages and texts all week on my Facebook, people from Mitchell County, talking about how they were going to beat us. They kept saying they were going to beat us by 40.''
Greene didn't write back.
Nope, he sent an old fashioned message. And it came Friday night at Centennial Stadium in a 42-7 romp by the Pats.
It read something like this: Dalviness Greene, 202 yards rushing on 23 carries and two touchdowns. Then there was a smiley face and a big LOL with the final tally: Westover wins by 35.
OK, there was no LOL, but the kids from Westover sure were smiling after their opening-night win against Mitchell, one of the biggest one-sided routs in recent memory at Westover, where the Patriots started the season ranked No. 2 in The Herald Fab Five poll, and looked at least that good against No. 5 Mitchell County.
It was all Westover on Friday.
The Patriots not only produced a 200-yard rusher, but they did just about everything right, from blocking one punt and tackling the punter on another, to picking off three passes and scoring twice on defense, to even getting a 32-yard field goal from Ben Fowler, who just started learning how to kick a football last week and was playing in his first-ever gridiron game.
And it was just what coach Octavia Jones expected.
"I told them before the game if we didn't score 40 points that I would be disappointed," said Jones, whose team didn't score more than 28 points in a game last year. "That's nothing against Mitchell County. I just feel our offense is that good this year.''
And his defense is even better.
Defensive back Jamal Childs had the game of his life, scoring twice -- first on a 12-yard fumble return on a Westover kickoff when the ball was batted in the air. Childs grabbed it and raced into the end zone, and then he later scored on a 75-yard interception return that gave Westover a 29-7 lead with 1:46 left in the half.
"I felt like I was in a dream,'' said Childs of his big night. "All I saw was green grass and pylon.''
Childs said he sees something else after the big opening night win.
"I see us winning a region championship, and I see us going to the Dome and playing for the state title," he said.
That might have been the real message Friday. Westover, which has had just four winning seasons in its history, appears ready to make the move to the elite.
"This win is a confidence builder,'' Jones said of the win. "We want to be playing in December."
Jones said he expected Greene to have a big night.
"I told him he needed to get 150 yards. He got 200, so I guess I owe him,'' Jones said. "But the way our offensive line was blocking (Friday) all he had to do was run behind those big 'uglies.' They were really opening up some holes.''
Greene knew it.
"My offensive line and my fullback were blocking all night for me,'' said Greene, a junior, who gained 800 yards last year. "They deserve the credit. It feels great (to get 200 yards). I've never had a 200-yard night before. I was ready.''
So was Mitchell, which took a 7-0 lead on the fourth play of the game when Tevin Watkins hit Yancey Burns with a quick-hit 10-yard pass, and Burns spun by a tackler and then flew down the right sideline for a 53 yard TD.
But Greene answered with a 95-yard first quarter, and scored on a 4-yard run to knot things and came right back with a 22-yard TD run with 2:43 left in the quarter to give Westover the lead.
Then Freddie Stephens recovered a fumble to set up Fowler's 32-yard field goal, and Childs scored on the ensuing kickoff -- and just like that, it was Westover 23, Mitchell 7.
Mitchell needed to get on the board before halftime, and the Eagles gambled on a fourth-and-6 from their own 46 yard line. Watkins went deep, but Childs was there, and zipped down the left sideline for the 75-yard interception return.
"We expect our defense to score in every game,'' Jones said. "Like I said (in the preseason), we're going to hang our hat on our defense.''
Why not? They may hang a lot of victories on that D, too.
Mitchell, one of the quickest teams in Southwest Georgia, had trouble moving the ball all night. Watkins completed 9-of-19 passes for 114 yards before giving way in the fourth quarter to sophomore Bruce Bryant, who completed 5-of-12 for 51 yards with two interceptions.
Watkins, who had a 38-yard run on the final play of the half, led Mitchell in rushing with 51 yards on 10 carries and was sacked three times. It was a long night for the Eagles, who will still be the favorites to defend their Region 1-A title.
"Turnovers and injuries killed us,'' said Mitchell coach Dondrial Pinkins, who said six of his starters had to leave the game with injuries. "Take your hat off to Westover. They played a hell of a game. We got off to a fast start but after that we started doing things to shoot ourselves in the foot.
"We'll come back next week and work on getting guys healthy. My focus is on the region, and the first three games are for getting us ready for the region.''
No one knows how this big win will affect Westover.
"It's been quite some time since Westover (has beaten a team 42-7),'' Jones said. "Honestly, I don't know how long it's been.''
It was a rout, complete with backups celebrating in the end zone. Sophomore Quintavious Moran scored two fourth-quarter TDs on runs of 6- and 4-yards, and finished with 62 yards on six carries. And two juniors -- Joshua Burton and Marquis Farley -- had interceptions.
It was that kind of night for the Patriots.