Westover QB T.J. Cromer brought the Patriots back from a 14-0 hole Friday night at home, but it wasn't enough as South Effingham won, 41-28, in the second round of the GHSA Class AAAA state playoffs, ending their season. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end.
Westover’s 2012 season — a year that’s been filled with so many amazing accomplishments — is over thanks to South Effingham, which came the Good Life City on Friday night and showed the Patriots the bad side of the state playoffs.
South Effingham, a No. 4 seed that had to upset No. 1 Westside Macon last week just to secure the trip to Hugh Mills Stadium, will move on and face Monroe Area next week after beating Westover in a heartbreaker, 41-28. Monroe Area, the No. 1 seed out of Region 8-AAAA, moved on after beating Region 6-AAAA No. 3 seed Grady on Friday in overtime.
Westover, which posted just its fifth winning season in school history this year and hosted a state playoff game for the first time, saw its year end at 8-4 — a drastic improvement from last year’s 4-6 record and 2010’s 3-7 mark during third-year coach Octavia Jones’ first season.
The game started badly for Westover, which fell behind, 14-0, before the butter on the concession stand’s popcorn could even melt. The Patriots fumbled on their first two series — once inside their own 1-yard line and once at midfield — and South Effingham made them pay with two quick TDs.
But resilience has been the theme of Westover’s season, and the Patriots answered right back, first on a T.J. Cromer 1-yard QB sneak and then Cromer found Jackie Childs from 20 yards out to even the score. Effingham would answer with a 16-yard TD pass before halftime to make it 21-14 at intermission.
South Effingham, however, would chew up more than six minutes off the clock on its opening drive after the half and score in the third quarter, but it missed the PAT, and the score stood at 27-14.
Westover answered with a five-play, 60-yard drive, capped with a 3-yard TD run by Greene, but South Effingham broke the Patriots’ back with two long drives for TDs in the fourth quarter to seal it. Westover backup QB Ta’Keevian Harris came on and scored a meaningless TD for WHS with 56 seconds left.