1

Westover tops Albany, 13-7, shakes up city title race

Albany High quarterback Emmanul Byrd, center, was running for his life much of Saturday's game against Westover and its defense as Chris Green (74) and Antravious Parks gave chase all night in a 13-7 Pats win.

Albany High quarterback Emmanul Byrd, center, was running for his life much of Saturday's game against Westover and its defense as Chris Green (74) and Antravious Parks gave chase all night in a 13-7 Pats win.

ALBANY -- They may be flipping over Dalviness "Deion" Greene at Westover these days, but Greene's days of flipping into the end zone are over.

"That was my last flip," said Greene, who leaped and flipped heels-over-head into the end zone after a remarkable 76-yard TD run Saturday night. "I'm on punishment for doing that.''

They can punish him all they want, but there's no denying they love him at Westover, where The Herald No. 2 Patriots are 2-0 after winning one of their biggest games of the year Saturday by beating city rival Albany High, 13-7, in front of a huge crowd at Hugh Mills Stadium. It was there that Greene put on a show.

By the time it was over, Westover had a huge grip on defending its city title, and Greene had 274 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns.

"What ... 274? I had no idea I had that many yards,'' said Greene, who has now gained 476 yards in two games. "That's a dream game.''

Go ahead and pinch yourself, Westover. This is no dream. The Patriots have looked impressive in both wins after stomping 1-A champ Mitchell County, 42-7, last week.

Albany High came into the game ranked No. 3 in The Herald's Fab 5 Poll, and this rivalry game had just about everything you could want, including one of the hottest quarterbacks in Southwest Georgia in Albany's Emmanul Byrd, who threw for 181 yards and four touchdowns in one half against Dougherty last week.

But Byrd never got the chance to explode against Westover. He spent most of the night running for his life from an unrelenting Patriots defense that sacked him 10 times, including seven in the second half.

"That was the plan,'' said Westover defensive tackle and Dynamite Dozen selection Chris Green. "That was a passing team, and we knew the defensive line had to do something.''

The secret?

"It's 'KABO,' '' Green said. "We can't tell you what that means, but that's what our defense is all about.''

It was no secret that they came to Hugh Mills looking for Byrd.

"Our defensive guys got kind of ticked off this week,'' Westover coach Octavia Jones said. "All they heard was Byrd this and Byrd that. We felt our front four could get some pressure on him.''

They did that -- and more.

"They dominated us on the line of scrimmage,'' Albany High coach Felton Williams said. "I said last week this game would come down to the line of scrimmage, and it did. They just whipped our butt up front. There's no need to sugarcoat it.''

Albany High just couldn't stop Westover's pass rush.

"You could see (in the second half) they were getting frustrated,'' said Green, who had two sacks and kept the pressure on all night.

Nothing worked for AHS.

"They changed some things (in their blocking in the second half) up front, but we still got them,'' said De'Marcus Holloway, a defensive tackle who also had two sacks.

Must have been the KABO.

"I feel we've got the best defense in the region,'' said Patriots defensive end Derrek Akins, who also had a couple of sacks.

Westover's pass rush and Greene's running game just kept coming.

Greene gave the Patriots the lead with 3:33 left in the half with a run for the ages. He broke to his left, then banged into two Albany defenders and bounced back into his own backfield before making a 180 and heading right -- and right into the open. He never stopped, putting one final move at the 20 to dance away from Albany's last defender. Then -- after running forever from one end of the field to the other -- Greene did his infamous flip into the end zone to complete a 76-yard TD run that must have felt like 760 yards.

"That's one of the best runs I've seen in my 13 years of coaching,'' said Jones, who was furious about the flip into the end zone. Still, he had to smile when he was talking about the run before the flip.

Even Greene had trouble describing it.

"It was crazy,'' he said. "I went to the left and then I don't know what made me want to cut back, but when I cut back I saw nothing but daylight. My quarterback (T.J. Cromer) made a great block to free me when I cut back, and my fullback (Martin McKenney) was blocking for me all night. He was laying that wood to those linebackers.''

Greene's flip was costly, because Westover ate the 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff and Albany High's Elliot Martin fielded the short kick at the 26 and dashed off to a 74-yard kickoff return, and with 3:22 left in the half, things were knotted at 7-7.

Albany had a chance to take the lead when Shaquille Clark recovered a fumbled punt at the Westover 31 yard line with 5.6 seconds left in the half. Byrd hit his first pass of the night, but Jeconiah Jackson was tackled at the 7-yard line as time ran out. Byrd finished the night completing just 5 of 12 passes and had his first interception of the year.

Then Westover took over in the second half, and Greene, who had 155 yards at halftime, carried the ball 18 times in the second half. He scored on a 5-yard run with 2:28 left in the third, completing a nine-play, 83-yard drive in which Greene gained every yard.

In fact, the rest of Westover's offense was in the red (negative 8 yards of passing and negative 16 yards rushing). Albany High's Tyuis Smith gained 74 yards on 13 carries and Byrd finished with just for 58 yards one week after throwing four TDs and going 5-for-5 for 181 yards.

"I give it all up to my offensive line and my defense,'' Greene said after his monster effort. "Our defense won this game. It feels great to be 2-0, just great.''

Greene said it with a big smile and a bounce in his step as he walked off the field.

But he didn't flip over it.