Coming off a bye week and a victory over Deerfield-Windsor, Westfield was feeling pretty good about themselves. They had somehow navigated their extremely tough non-region schedule to a 3-1 record, and looked to continue their good play against the Bulloch Academy Gators. Well, the Hornets knew it wouldn’t be easy against the Gators, as BA came in with an undefeated 5-0 record. The Gators gave Westfield all they could handle with a fourth quarter rally, but the Hornets were able to hang on for the 35-20 victory.
Westfield got out to a hot start in the first quarter with a strong drive that was capped off with a short Ryan Fitzpatrick touchdown run. After some stout defense from the Hornets, they took the ball down the field and moved into the red zone on the Gator defense. Looking to add to their lead, Fitzpatrick handed it off to Reagan Waller. Waller worked his way inside the 5 yard line before having the football poked away and covered up by Bulloch. The turnover marked the beginning of an ugly 13 minute stretch of football between the two teams.
Just a few plays after the fumble by Waller, he made for his error by picking off a Lanier Oliff pass and returning down to the Gator 10 yard line. One play later, Reagan took the handoff and ran it into the end zone for a 14-0 Hornet lead. Waller had gone from offensive goat, to defensive hero, and offensive hero all in the span of about 2 minutes. It was that type of game for Westfield. After a few more turnovers by both teams leading to a scoreless second quarter, the Hornets took a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The third quarter kicked off with Westfield taking their drive down the field and scoring a touchdown just over 3 minutes into the second half to take a 21-0 lead. It appeared the Hornets were on their way to an easy victory. Well, that is when things started getting interesting. Bulloch QB Lanier Oliff finally got the Gators on the scoreboard with a 4 yard TD run late in the 3rd quarter to bring the score to 21-6. The score appeared to give the Gators some life.
Well, just as quickly as the score seemed to breathe life back into the Gators, all that air was gone just as fast. On the ensuing kickoff, Austin Burnette took the return and scampered down the far sideline for a 76 yard kickoff return TD. The Hornets had rebuilt their lead back up to 28-6, and seemed to have squashed any hopes of a Gator comeback heading into the 4th quarter.
The resilient Gators would not go quietly however as QB Oliff continued his strong night with a quick TD run early in the 4th quarter, and then an 81 yard TD pass a few minutes later. Just when the game seemed over, Bulloch had stormed back to turn a 28-6 game into a 28-20 game with 8 minutes left to play.
After a sloppy start to the 4th quarter, Westfield went back to their roots and started pounding the football with their running game. With just under 3 minutes to go, Ryan Fitzpatrick ran the option right and pitched it off to Josh Jenkins who ran it in from 42 yards out to finally seal a 35-20 victory over Bulloch Academy.
The Hornets managed to go 4-1 in their non-region portion of their schedule, and will now look to region play as they host the Westminster Wildcats on Friday night. Stay tuned to the Spherion Pregame Show at 7:10pm only at midgasports.net.
Here are some extra tidbits on some things we noticed:
Guys that impressed:
Moody Law Firm Big Hit of the Game: Giles Amos
Sonic Drive-In Play of the Game: Josh Jenkins 42 yard TD Run
Anytime Garage Door Repair Offensive Player of the Game: Josh Jenkins
Custom Homes by Jeff Defensive Player of the Game: Reagan Waller