One team gets its first loss of the season on a last second field goal, another team loses after a field goal put them ahead at halftime, and yet another local squad wins for the first time in almost two years.
All of those results made for an exciting week of high school football action in metro Albany last week, even if September ended on a sour note for most local teams. The “Hunt for (Postseason Play In) October (and November)” could shape up to be an intense battle not only for local bragging rights, but also for playoff spots, and/or positioning.
Having said that, let’s look back at what happened in Week 5 of the 2009 high school football regular season.
COUGARS OVERPOWER PATRIOTS: The Westover Patriots took a three-point lead into the locker room against the Crisp County Cougars going into halftime at Hugh Mills Stadium on Saturday. But once the second half started, things unraveled for head coach Jeff Caldwell and the Patriots, as the Cougars overpowered the Westover defense en route to a 20-10 win.
After trading punts on their first offensive possessions, it was Crisp County (3-2, 1-1 GHSA Region 1-AAA) that struck first, as the Cougars used a 12-play, 67-yard drive that took off more than five minutes during the first quarter.
The drive ended with a nine-yard touchdown run by Vantravious Williams with just over two minutes to play in the period. That gave the visiting Cougars a 7-0 lead.
Westover (3-2, 1-1) scored its points of the game in the second quarter—on a 17-yard touchdown reception by Chuck Lewis—followed by a 35-yard field goal by Peter Morton later in the period. The Patriots led 10-7 at halftime.
But the Cougars fought back in the second half—as they mounted another sustained offensive drive with their wing-T offense—pounding the Patriots defense intensely, which resulted in the visitors from Cordele, Ga. going ahead to stay.
This time, the drive took more than six minutes to complete. It covered more than half of the third quarter, and the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. Williams scored his second touchdown of the contest to give Crisp a 13-10 lead early in the final period.
The Cougars put the game away late, as a 29-yard touchdown run with just over four minutes to play gave them a 20-10 lead. The Patriots have now lost two of their last three games after a 2-0 start.
“They pushed us around every way they could push us around,” a disappointed Westover head coach Jeff Caldwell said of Crisp County. “Offense, defense, they totally beat us.”
The Patriots’ lackadaisical effort at practice during the week carried over into the game, thus leading to a tough loss, said Patriots senior quarterback Rashad Jackson.
“We didn’t play good Monday through Friday, and it showed,” Jackson said. “We’ve got to practice as a team … We didn’t deserve to win, (Crisp) deserved to win.”
As the Patriots return to Hugh Mills Stadium this Saturday to face Dougherty in a game that’s more than just a battle for bragging rights, Caldwell realizes the stakes are very high for his team if Westover is to advance to the state playoffs for the second time in three years.
“Every game is a must-win,” Caldwell said. “We took a step backwards (last week), but we’ll go to work (this week), and try to re-group to try to do better.”
TORNADOES LOSS LEADS TO SHAKE-UP: Only two full weeks of GHSA Region 1-AAA are in the books, but already there’s a shakeup in the standings, thanks to the defending GHSA Class AAA state champion Cairo Syrupmakers.
After losing two of their first three games, the Syrupmakers stunned Monroe on a last-second field goal, and shocked the previously unbeaten Tornadoes, 10-7.
It doesn’t get any easier for Monroe (4-1, 1-1) this week, as they play host to preseason region favorite Peach County. The Trojans from Fort Valley, Ga. pounded their middle Georgia archrivals — the Perry Panthers — in a 40-0 rout to open 1-AAA play last week.
Monroe’s loss to Cairo combined with Peach’s win over Perry and Westover’s loss to Crisp, created a three-way tie for first place between Cairo, Dougherty, and Peach through last week’s games. Then there’s Crisp, Monroe, and Westover sitting right behind that those teams at 1-1, followed by Worth County at 0-1, and Perry at 0-2.
QUICK HITTERS: Deerfield-Windsor (4-2) stayed red hot, as the Knights won their third straight contest with a 21-0 rout of SGA at home.
As mentioned at the top of this column, there was one local team that won for the first time since near the end of the 2007 season. The Lee County Trojans (1-4, 1-2 in GHSA Region 1-AAAA) were that squad, as they knocked Americus-Sumter 28-21.
Ironically, the Trojans last victory came in the final regular season game of 2007, against Americus-Sumter. Lee County downed the Panthers 19-15 on the night of Nov. 9 two years ago.
The Trojans fell to Evans 35-16 in the first round of the state playoffs the following week to finish that season at 2-9. It was the last year Lee County made the state playoffs in a then four-team Region 1-AAAA.
While the Lee County faithful are savoring a long-awaited win, Albany High is still looking to get into the win column under new head coach Felton Williams. The Indians fell to 0-4 on the season with a 27-14 loss to Cook in a Thursday night special at Hugh Mills Stadium last week.
Sherwood Christian (3-1) picked up a hard-fought win at home last week, edging Westwood, 23-20.
Worth County (1-3, 0-1 GHSA Region 1-AAA) is back in action after a bye last week. The Rams travel to face to Cairo to face the Syrupmakers in a must-win region contest.
Additional source: Georgia High School Football Historians Association—http://www.ghsfha.org
ON THE WEB: High School Football Recap Online—http://southwestgafootball.wordpress.com.
By Walter L. Johnson II