The 20th annual West Stokes homecoming game was one to remember. The Wildcats tallied a record 33 points in the second quarter and demolished Carver 61-0 in a Western Piedmont Athletic conference matchup. The defensive unit recorded four interceptions and recovered two fumbles pushing their forced turnover count to 38 this season and a plus 33 overall with the offense only giving up five turnovers in seven games.
“I have never coached a team that has had that many takeaways on defense,” said Wildcat coach Jimmy Upchurch with a grin. “They are unbelievable. The best defense we had was our 2011 state championship team and they only had a plus 14 on the year. I thought Tyler (Smith) threw the ball exceptionally well and the offensive line gave him time to look down field. I have one of the best coaching staffs in the state and I’m very fortunate to have them. We work well together and they all bring something to the table.”
The Wildcats wasted little time getting on the board and forced the Jackets into a three-and-out to start the game. Smith led the offense down the field and handed the ball over to Chris Brown for the final three yards that completed a nine-play drive and gave the home team a 6-0 edge after the two–point conversion failed.
Both teams traded possession before Brown’s second touchdown on a 34-yard scamper down the middle. Smith ran in the two-point try and the Cats led 14-0 with 33 seconds left in the opening frame.
The record-breaking second quarter began on Brown’s first interception of the evening. He raced towards midfield on a good return, but a flag lying on the 10-yard line backed the Wildcats deep in their own territory. Smith and company went to the air and he completed three consecutive throws to Kelin Parsons, Dustin Blevins, and Zan Sandlin. Facing a second-and-goal, Smith ran around the right end for his only rushing TD of the night. Caleb Peters connected on the point after attempt and West’s lead grew to 21-0.
On the Yellowjackets next possession, Parsons intercepted his eighth pass of the year and returned it 50-yards for pay dirt and a 28-0 score with 7:23 left before the half.
Carver continued to struggle on offense and coughed up the ball two more times in the quarter. Junior Palmer Elliott intercepted a pass that set up an eight-yard reception to Sandlin for a score and then defensive lineman Luke Mickey recovered a fumble that set up another touchdown pass to Sandlin with 13 seconds showing on the game clock. West took a running clock into the second half with a 47-0 advantage at halftime.
“That was the best half of football we have played all season,” Upchurch said. “We could do no wrong and the ball bounced in our favor. We have never been on the other side of a running clock that I can ever remember. We needed to stay focused and come out and still play hard in the second half.”
West closed out their scoring in the third quarter on Blevins 14-yard run and Brown’s 74-yard interception return, his second defensive TD of the year.
The Wildcats held Carver to 77-yards of total offense in the game, while they amassed 365. Smith was 10-of-14 and threw for 235-yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. Brown scored three rushing touchdowns and added an interception return. Sandlin grabbed five passes for 115-yards and two scores and Blevins added 95-yards receiving and one rushing touchdown. Devin Stanley had nine tackles to lead the Wildcats defense and Phillip Pollard, Parsons, and Elliott all recorded five each. Parsons and Elliott grabbed interceptions and Mickey recovered a fumble and tallied three tackles.
Several records were broken from West during their contest against Carver. The Wildcats scored the most points in a quarter, half and game. Brown added to his 12th career interception and the defense is only three takeaways from having the most in history. They have already shattered the plus 14 turnover ratio record of 33 in seven games this year.
The Wildcats improve to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the WPAC, while the Yellowjackets fall to 0-7 and 0-2. West will have a bye next week, but will return to action on October 12 when they travel to Atkins.
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.