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PREP NOTEBOOK: Westwood coach Worsham will 'never forget' Friday's miracle victory

Ross Worsham

Ross Worsham

THOMASVILLE — The Westwood football team didn’t have the ball, didn’t have any timeouts left and trailed by a touchdown with a minute left in Friday’s game against Brookwood.

“All we had was a hope and a prayer,” Westwood coach Ross Worsham said on Saturday.

The Wildcats also had Dylon Smith, who answered those prayers with a 90-yard interception return for a TD with 51 seconds left to send the game into overtime, where Westwood scored a miracle TD on a fake field goal to beat Brookwood, 33-30.

“This has to rank right up there with one of the craziest games I’ve been a part of,” Worsham said. “It is one of the few games as a coach that you will never forget.”

Brookwood was one first down from walking away with a 27-20 victory, but on a 4th-and-9 on the Westwood 25 with just over a minute left Warriors QB Cale Deese dropped back to pass. It’s a call that Brookwood coach Shane Boggs said cost his team the game.

“Quite honestly, I feel like I took the game from (my players),” Boggs told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise. “If I had just run the ball into their little nine-man front right there, that would have made them have to go 80 yards with a minute left. My thinking was that we would make the tackle if it was intercepted.

“I’m going to proceed through the weekend with the mindset that I took the game away from some guys who played really, really hard. I wish I had run the ball there.”

Instead, Deese threw it right into the hands of Smith, who got some big blocks from his Wildcat teammates and took it straight down the Westwood sideline for the biggest touchdown of his life.

“We were all kind of running with him,” Worsham said. “You are sitting there thinking it’s over, and then that happens. I was thinking, ‘Good Lord, what just happened?’ ”

The craziness, however, didn’t stop there.

Brookwood got the ball back with 51 seconds left and marched down the field to set up a game-winning 42-yard field goal attempt with three seconds left, but John Stauffer’s kick hit the right upright, sending the game into overtime.

“I thought (the field goal) was good,” Worsham said. “He hit it good. You know when kickers think it’s good and run off like they made it. He did that.”

Stauffer got another crack at a long field goal in the first overtime period and nailed a 40-yard kick to give Brookwood a 30-27 lead. On Westwood’s first overtime possession, the Wildcats’ offense stalled at the 20 and Worsham brought placekicker Collier Baggett to boot a 37-yard field goal and send the game into a second overtime.

Baggett never got a chance to kick it.

In a planned fake field goal, Westwood QB Ralph Collins took the snap and dropped back for a pass. Brookwood pressured Collins on the play and even wrapped up his ankle as he fired a Hail Mary into the end zone, but Westwood receiver Chason Worsham tracked down the ball and caught it one yard into the end zone to end the game.

“I guess it was just destiny. It was meant to be,” Ross Worsham said. “We talked about in overtime that our playmakers need to find a way to make plays. We found a way to make one right there.”

The Wildcats improved to 4-1-1 and will play again Friday at Sherwood Christian.

STILL HOPE FOR TERRELL: Terrell County coach William Huff took Friday night’s 48-8 loss to Herald No. 2 Seminole County pretty hard. However, the Greenwave can gain the inside track to a playoff berth when they travel to Camilla to face Mitchell County next week.

The Eagles (3-3, 2-0 Region 1-AA) are tied with Seminole atop the region standings. The two are currently the region’s only unbeaten teams.

But Huff isn’t concerned about the region standings. He hopes his team can correct several mistakes from Friday night’s loss.

Twice in the third quarter Friday night, penalties nullified Terrell scores — a 10-yard pass quarterback Jatori Jones threw to Joe Ward, then another penalty wiped out a short Jones touchdown run.

“Our guys just need to focus,” he said. “Simple mental errors killed us against Seminole.”

TROJAN SHUTOUT: The Herald No. 1 Lee County Trojans (6-0) have made a name for themselves around Southwest Georgia for their up-tempo offense and light-up-the-scoreboard playmakers.

Turns out the Trojans’ defense can put up some points, too.

For the fifth time this season, Lee County’s defense scored when junior linebacker Dextric Green had a safety in Friday’s 26-0 win against Hardaway. It was also the first shutout this season for a Lee County defense that is allowing just 8.7 points per game — meaning the Lee County defense outscored Hardaway’s offense, 2-0.

“Our defensive coaching staff has done an outstanding job,” Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said, crediting defensive coordinator Jhon Smith and his team of coaches. “Our kids have played really hard on that side of the ball.

“In the past we played a more wide-open style (on offense). While that has definitely helped us score some points, it’s left our defense in tough situations. This year with what we have, we haven’t had to take as many chances and consequently we might not be scoring as many points, but our offense has done a good job protecting our defense and putting them in better situations.”

Green finished the game with 16 tackles, while Chris Melton added 10 tackles, Collins Tensley had two tackles for losses and safety Nui Misajon had three tackles for losses, including two sacks.

LEWIS RUNS WILD: Narocis Lewis had the game of his life for the visiting Blazers, gaining 310 all-purpose yards and scoring four TDs in Baconton Charter’s 27-19 win against North Cobb Christian on Friday.

Lewis, a sophomore, rushed for 215 yards and TDs of 18, 95 and 97 yards and also ran back a kickoff 95 yards for a score.

“We knew (Lewis) would be capable of being a special player, and the light is starting to flicker a little bit in him now,” Baconton coach Johnny Hayes said.

Baconton (2-4) overcame a 16-13 halftime deficit to win its second game in a row heading into a home game against St. Francis next Saturday at 3 p.m.

LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD: Southwest Georgia Academy coach Brent Miller thought Friday night’s game against Terrell Academy would be close.

His Warriors, however, had other ideas.

Scoring from all over the field, the SGA Warriors celebrated homecoming in style with a 63-21 win in their GISA Region 3-AA opener.

SGA running back Will Warren led the way with 157 yards and two TDs on 18 carries and also caught a 95-yard pass for a TD.

“He is an outstanding running back for us,” Miller said. “He has very good speed and does a lot of good things for us.”

Fullback Cabe Rathel added 127 yards and two TDs on eight carries; Teel Massey had a TD run, a fumble recovery for a TD and an interception; Stephen Jackson ran back an interception 65 yards for a TD; and Austin Cowart was 9-for-9 on PATs.

“I think this builds momentum for us,” Miller said. “The players were ecstatic. They really wanted to play hard and good and prepared all week for it.”


Herald preps reporter Tim Morse contributed to this report