ALBANY — The 2020 high school football season looks a lot different than years past with fans required to wear face masks, temperature checks to enter the game, no marching bands and more.
But one thing has not changed. Westover beat Dougherty, again.
It was Westover’s 11th straight win over their crosstown rival, but this game — a 14-8 victory — was much more competitive than last year’s 48-0 rout. In fact, the Trojans were about to end that streak as they were deep in Westover territory with a first down at the 15-yard line when disaster struck.
After forcing the Patriots to punt with fewer than four minutes to play, the Trojans moved the ball down to the 27-yard line with the help of a personal foul penalty and a face mask penalty against the Patriots. After that, senior running back Dereion McCray blew through the line for 12 strong yards and the Trojans were sitting on the 15 with less than two minutes to play. But two plays later, on third down, Westover’s Antonio James intercepted a Trojan pass at the two-yard line to end the threat and preserve the win for the Patriots.
“We are thankful for the win,” said Westover head coach Olten Downs. “Our kids strained hard and played their butts off. We have to get rid of all the penalties. Penalties have hurt some good drives for us in our two games so far.”
Downs is correct. The Patriots had two drives that ended deep in Trojan territory thanks to holding and delay of game penalties. Another long run by Cameron Bergeron (12 rushes, 112 yards, two touchdowns) that ended at the 15-yard line was also called back because of a penalty.
The Trojans closed the score to 7-6 with 8:15 left in the game after senior full back Kenorrie Brown scored on an eight-yard run to cap a 38-yard drive after Westover kicked a very short punt. Gemarion Anthony raced through the Westover defense for 15 yards to start the drive. The extra-point kick was blocked.
After the Trojans closed the gap to 7-6, the Patriots responded quickly. Dailan Hall took the ensuing kickoff to midfield and a hard run down to the 18-yard line by Julius McClellan (10 carries for 57 yards, two catches for 54 yards) was followed moments later by a pitch to Bergeron who went around the right side for the touchdown. It was Bergeron’s second touchdown of the night. Bergeron, who has committed to play college football at Duke University, had given the Patriots a 7-0 lead with a 15-yard touchdown run with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.
The only other scoring was a safety by Daymon Polite and the Trojan defense after the Trojans had pinned the Patriots down to the four after a fourth-quarter punt. That safety led to Dougherty’s last chance that ended with James’ game-saving interception. Polite had stopped another Patriot drive in the first half with an interception.
The Trojans had other opportunities that just missed as well. Freshman quarterback Kameron Davis blasted through the Westover defense a couple of times, including a 40-yard run that had the Trojans on the 12-yard line in the first half. The Patriots took over four plays later when a fourth-down pass to a diving McClellan fell incomplete in the corner of the end zone.
Marco Foster led the Westover defense with 10 tackles (seven solos).
Both teams will be in action at Hugh Mills Stadium against next week. Thursday night the Trojans will host Bainbridge in Albany at 7:30 and Friday night the Patriots will host Thomas County Central at 7:30.