Last season West Stokes traveled to Carver in hopes of pressing towards another conference championship, but a 46-2 blowout sent the Wildcats into a tailspin and they lost their three remaining games. This year West Stokes rode the legs of Chris Brown’s four touchdowns and beat the Yellow Jackets 42-13, staying on track for the elusive championship title.
“I thought our defense played really well and the offense was very efficient tonight,” said Wildcats coach Jimmy Upchurch. “We were able to pick up on their defensive alignment and found some holes. They never adjusted, so we were able to have some early success and that gave us confidence to finish the game strong.”
West scored first, as they have against every opponent this season, on Brown’s 15-yard dash around the left end with 8:49 left in the first quarter. Caleb Peters made his first of six extra-point attempts for a 7-0 advantage.
Carver quickly cut the Cat’s lead down to a point on a 58-yard touchdown reception by Milan Ruffin with 5:51 on the clock. The bad snap on the extra-point still left West with a 7-6 lead.
On the Wildcats next possession, they fumbled at midfield giving the ball back to the Yellow Jackets. They picked up a first down on third-and-21 with a pass to Ruffin and then Carver’s quarterback found him across the middle for a three-yard touchdown reception with 1:27 left before the end of the first quarter. The extra-point gave the Jackets their only lead of the game at 13-7.
West Stokes opened up the second quarter and regained the lead with Brown’s 41-yard dash to pay dirt at 14-13 with only 11 seconds off the game clock. The purple team added another touchdown by Tyler Smith, his first of two scores, with 4:12 left before the break. The Cats held a 21-13 advantage going into the locker room.
“With the exception of a couple pass plays, our defense was stopping them,” said Upchurch. “We shut down the run and we wanted to force them to throw.”
In the second half, West scored three times in the third quarter on Brown’s 21-yard reception on fourth down, a 35-yard run by him, and then Smith’s one-yard plunge into the end zone for a 42-13 lead with 11 seconds left in the period.
The Wildcats accumulated 323 yards of total offense with Brown leading the way with 137 yards rushing on 11 carries and three touchdowns. He also set a career high with 72 yards receiving on four catches and a touchdown. Smith added 39 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while passing for 85 yards and another score.
Defensively, West Stokes slowed the Yellow Jackets offense to 123 total yards, while holding them to negative 11 yards rushing on 29 carries. Senior Tyler Walker led the way with 15 tackles, while fellow linebacker, Jordan Smith chipped in 10. Down lineman Julius Smith had nine tackles, five for a loss, and either had or assisted on four sacks in the game. The Wildcats totaled eight sacks on Friday night.
“If we can build on what we did against Carver and continue the momentum of our play, I believe we could be a very hard team to beat the rest of the way,” voiced Upchurch. “We can’t get complacent and have to continue to work hard and take no team lightly. We have to play at our level and continue to do the small fundamental things that will allow us to be successful.”
The Wildcats improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in the WPAC. This Friday is a scheduled bye and then West Stokes will host their annual homecoming game against Atkins on Oct. 13.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.