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SUNDAY PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Westover punter Wiley emerges as weapon

ALBANY -- It's raining at Westover.

Well, sort of.

You can hear the oohs and ahs whenever Westover's Terry Wiley punts. He sends high-arching rainbows.

"I kid with him at practice,'' Westover coach Octavia Jones said Saturday. "I tell him, 'Make it rain, Wiley!' And when he punts he makes it rain.''

He's a weapon, but not a secret weapon.

Bainbridge coach Ed Pilcher raved about him -- even before Bainbridge played Westover on Friday night -- and Wiley didn't disappoint. He nailed two punts inside the Bainbridge 20, including a 46-yarder to the 4 yard line. Wiley boomed punts of 46, 47, 50, 45, 42, and had a pair of 35 yarders for a 42-yard average.

He had a 60-yard punt against Mitchell in the season opener, and averaged 52.5 yards in that game. He nailed two punts inside the 10 against Albany and averaged 41 yards in Westover's 13-7 win against the Indians last week.

He's arguably the best punter in Southwest Georgia.

"No doubt about it,'' Jones said. "You would be hard-pressed to find another punter like him in this part of the state.''

And Wiley is only a junior.

"We're definitely looking for him to have an opportunity to play college football,'' Jones said.

Westover suffered a heartbreaking triple overtime, 23-20, loss to Bainbridge on a night when defensive coordinator Byran Brown walked the sidelines with a severe migraine headache.

Brown never left the game, but at times he had to walk down and get to himself to deal with the pain. Still, he stayed through the long night, pushing his team.

"He had a migraine and he was in a lot of pain,'' Jones said. "We met with the kids (Saturday morning) and I just told him to go home. He was feeling better on Saturday.''

Westover had problems kicking against Bainbridge as Ben Fowler missed a 25-yard field goal attempt early and later missed an extra point. Fowler had never played football until the opener against Mitchell County three weeks ago.

"We got him off the soccer team,'' Jones said. "And he hasn't kicked that much. His leg has been bothering him (and that's why he was a little off against Bainbridge).''

Jones went with sophomore Tanner Stumpe in the first overtime period after Westover tied the score 20-20. Stumpe could have won the game, but the snap was low and the holder never got the ball placed down. Stumpe kicked the ball but he didn't catch it right and it floated high and short.

"Ben's leg was bothering him, and that's why I went with Stumpe in overtime,'' Jones said. "We just had a low snap.''


ALL EYES ON BAINBRIDGE: Bainbridge knows how to draw a crowd.

The Bearcats were pretty popular in Region 1-AAAA on Friday when they came to Albany to play Westover. Coaches from at least three Region 1-AAAA schools, including Hardaway and Northside Warner Robins, made the trip to Albany to scout Bainbridge, which is located almost 100 miles south of Leesburg and is forced to travel more than any team in Georgia to play its region schedule. That's why teams upnorth made the trip to scout Bainbridge. It's the shortest drive they could make to see the Bearcats.


TWO-MAN SHOW: It just seems that way on the scoreboard at Bainbridge, where Terry Lewis and Daniel Provence have scored every point for the Bearcats in regulation this season.

Lewis scored on two touchdown runs against Westover in regulation on Friday. He scored Bainbridge's only TD against Early and scored both TDs in Bainbridge's 17-14 win against against Cairo. Provence has kicked five field goals, including the 23-yard game-winner against Westover.

Quarterback Quincy Fortson finally broke the trend when he scored on TD run in overtime against Westover.


WATCH OUT FOR CALHOUN: They're growing fast at Calhoun County, where four of the five defensive lineman who start for the Cougars are freshmen.

That's right.

Sharod Williams, a 6-foot-6, 170-pound defensive end, Dajohn Williams, a 6-2, 177-pound defensive end, Quenton Taylor, a 5-8, 155-pound noseguard, and Quincy Pratt, a 6-2, 210-pound defensive tackle are all freshmen.

That's how good the future looks for Calhoun, which has a talented JV team loaded with big freshmen.

"We're hoping when our young kids get some experience that they can turn things around,'' coach John Williams said Saturday.

His team turned everything around Friday with a 64-12 win against Stewart County. Running back Vincent Powell scored three TDs, including a punt return, and running back Willie Brown score two TDs while touching the ball only two times all night. He gained 24 yards on two carries.

Dravian Powell suffered a neck injury on a kickoff in the game and was taken to the hospital, but Williams said Saturday that Powell was fine.

"He had a neck injury, but he was fine (by the next day),'' he said.


DWS' CONFIDENCE IN THE KICKER: Deerfield-Windsor's Trey Puckett showed off his leg in Friday night's 36-7 win against Bethesda Day, hitting two field goals and four extra points.

In the opening seconds of the second quarter, Puckett missed his first field goal attempt of the game from 30 yards out. The kick sailed wide right, but DWS coach Allen Lowe said he never lost confidence in his senior kicker who hit a clutch 42-yard field goal a week ago in the fourth quarter against Stratford.

"He had a great year for us last year, and we have confidence in him any time," Lowe said. "(Friday), I was glad he had the opportunity to kick a few."

And just how much confidence does Lowe have in his kicker?

"He could go 50-51 (yards)," Lowe said. "Right now I would say I trust him very consistently from 47 in."

Both of Puckett's successful field goals -- a 29-yarder and a 19-yarder -- were in the second quarter.


DEFENSE TAKES CENTER STAGE IN LEE: Lee County outscored its first three non-region opponents 134-6, playing two Class A schools and one Class AA school. Last season the Trojans beat the same three teams (Baconton Charter, Terrell County and Crawford County) by a combined score of 162-38.

The general consensus, as a comparison of those scores indicates, is that the Trojans' offense isn't quite as explosive as last year, but the defense is better.

"We've got a different team this year," Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio said. "Last year we had a few more explosive guys and this year we've got different strengths."

Now things are about to get tougher.

"Way tougher," sophomore receiver Josh Cabrera said. "We've got to prepare ourselves for that."

The Trojans begin region play in two weeks at Northside Columbus, one of the four teams they beat in Region 1-AAAA play last season. Northside Columbus, like the Trojans, didn't give up a point in the first two games and also has started 3-0. Fabrizio wasn't overly concerned that his defense finally gave up a point Friday in the Trojans' 42-6 win against Terrell County.

"Those things are going to happen," Fabrizio said. "What our kids are going to have to understand, it's not going to be a running clock in the second half every game."

Lee County, Northside Columbus, Bainbridge and Northside Warner Robins have all started the season unbeaten.


TERRELL TRIES TO STAY FOCUSED: After an 0-2 start to the season, Greenwave head coach William Huff didn't want his players thinking about anything other than football.

Harley-Davidson hogs roaring around Lee County's field? That qualifies as a distraction. So Huff had his players wait in the locker room while the Trojans' pregame ritual of motorcycles leading Lee County onto the field took place.

"Those motorcycles... That's a little distracting for our kids," Huff said.

The strategy seemed to work early on with Terrell County driving into Lee County territory with its first two possessions, but both drives stalled. The Greenwave, whose roster of 40 paled in comparison to Lee County's 100, only trailed 14-6 with less than six minutes before halftime prior to giving up 14 points in the final two minutes of the first half.

With an inexperienced offensive line, Terrell County had trouble dealing with Lee County's wave of blitzes out of its 3-3-5 defense. Huff estimated the Trojans blitz 85-90 percent of the time.

"We still felt like we could run right at them," Huff said.

Terrell (0-3) ran for 140 yards in the first half but was held to negative yards on the ground in the second half.


Herald staff sports writer John Millikan and Matt Stewart contributed to this report