West Stokes defense forced six interceptions against Atkins and cruised to a 48-7 win on Friday night at the Wildcats 19th annual homecoming game.
“We are getting better each week,” said Wildcat coach Jimmy Upchurch. “Tyler (Smith) has been playing really well; he has grown up for us this year. When something goes wrong, he just gets back in the huddle and says, ‘Let’s go again,’ and gets after it.”
West Stokes started with a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Lineman Julius Smith came in and ran fullback for one play and scored from one-yard out on third down. Caleb Peters made his first of six extra-points on the night with 3:57 showing on the game clock.
Atkins wasted little time in tying the score. On the second play from scrimmage, they completed a 50-yard pass to set up first-and-goal on the 10-yard line. Four plays later, Atkins Reggie McNeil scored on a 3-yard reception from LeShod Johnson to knot the game.
In the second quarter, the Wildcats lit the scoreboard with three touchdowns and the defense did its job with three interceptions to keep the Camels at bay. Tyler Smith scored from 1-yard out after Kelin Parson’s interception set the Cats up at first-and-goal. Chris Brown added a rushing touchdown with 6:54 left in the second quarter and then added a receiving score with 11-seconds before halftime for a comfortable 28-7 lead.
“Going into the game we were very concerned about their passing attack,” said Upchurch. “They had a rough night throwing the ball, and they throw it well. I love their quarterback and wide receivers and I felt like we’d have a tough time getting pressure on him, but we did.”
West picked up in the third quarter where they left off and the offense scored two more touchdowns when Zan Sandlin got a 13-yard reception for the score and Brown ran for pay dirt from 19-yards out. The defense earned interceptions from Brown and a 72-yard return score from Tyler Walker on his second pick of the season. At the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats lead grew to the final score of 48-7.
West Stokes had 323 yards of offense in the game with 156 coming through the air. Smith was 8-for-16 with no interceptions, while Brown had 52 yards rushing on 10 carries and Dustin Blevins had 50 yards on six carries.
The defense gave up 196 yards of offense, but set a school record with the six interceptions they forced in the game. Parson and Tyler Little tied a school record with two interceptions each. For the first time this year, Parker Pratt led the team in defense with seven tackles, four for a loss and two sacks. He is now tied with Jacob Bratcher for second place with 23 career sacks, just three behind all-time leader Tyler Bullard. Walker, Parson and Tristan Carter had six tackles each.
The Wildcats (6-2, 3-0) will host Surry Central, reigning WPAC champion, on Friday night in King at 7:30 p.m.
“Surry Central is coached very well and their record is deceiving. We will prepare hard against them,” said Upchurch. “They lost a lot of seniors last year, but I expect them to come out and compete hard against us. That is what every Monty Southern team will do.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.