Westbrook holds off Hokes Bluff 28-21 in Times' Game of the Week


Westbrook’s Christopher Underwood gets tripped up by Hokes Bluff’s Dylan McKee during Friday’s game in Hokes Bluff. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times)


Westbrook Christian rode a strong night from Jonathan Ford and some timely defensive stops to a 28-21 win Friday over Hokes Bluff in The Gadsden Times’ Game of the Week.

The Warriors gained 431 yards in the game, while the Eagles picked up 310 yards.

Hokes Bluff moved the ball into Westbrook territory numerous times on the night, but the Warrior defense held them just enough times to come away victorious.

“We have to be a little more consistent in our focus, but I think we grew up a little tonight,” Westbrook coach Tony Osborne said. “It was a physical game. The defense did a good job.”

Ford finished the game with 181 yards on 12 of 26 passes and rushed 10 times for 113 yards. He threw three touchdowns passes. The team ran for 250 yards on the night, a departure for the normally pass-heavy Warriors.

“Sometimes you have to run the ball,” Osborne said. “If that’s what the defense gives you, you have to take it. Our linemen have gotten better and better all year, and I thought they did a good job.”

Westbrook’s offense came out of the gates humming. They gained 147 yards in the opening quarter, to 51 for Hokes Bluff.

On the third play of the game, Jonathan Ford hit DeVernon Marshall, who made the catch in traffic, avoided a tackler and sped past the defense for a 51 yard touchdown. Chris Underwood’s kick made it 7-0 with less than a minute gone in the game.

A seven play, 65 yard drive on its next possession gave Westbrook its next score. The Warriors took over after Darrell Whatley covered a fumble by Brad Robertson. Ford connected with Brien Welch on a 21-yarder, and Underwood’s kick made it 14-0 with 5:05 left in the opening quarter.

Hokes Bluff had numerous chances to cut into the deficit but could not capitalize. Late in the first quarter, the hosts drove to the Westbrook 4, but a fumble by Chase Beggs was covered by Dylan McCain to end the threat.

On their next drive, the Eagles got to the Warriors’ 30, but Beggs was tackled for a loss on fourth-and-1 to turn the ball over on downs.

The next Hokes Bluff drive also reached Westbrook territory, but stalled and a punt resulted.

Late in the half, the Warriors drove to the Eagle 21, but Ford fumbled the ball, and Alex Hawk picked it up and ran it to the Westbrook 23. Robertson hit Charlie Reed with 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter to get Hokes Bluff on the board. Jonathan Pruett made the kick to make it a 14-7 game.

The Eagles managed to get into Warrior territory on each of their first two third quarter possessions but came up empty.

The first Westbrook score of the second half came as a result of an interception of Robertson by Jake Kilgo. A late hit penalty put the ball at the Eagles’ 42. A sloppy drive ensued, with the two teams committing five penalties on the four-play possession. In the end, though, the march looked pretty for the Warriors, as Ford found Whatley on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 1:40 left until the fourth quarter. Underwood’s kick made it 21-7.

Hokes Bluff bounced right back, though. On the next play from scrimmage, Beggs ran over a defender and sprinted 57 yards for a score. Pruett’s kick cut it to 21-14.

Once again, the Eagles drove to the Westbrook side of the field, but could not score. They got as far as the Warriors’ 39, but turned the ball over on downs.

The game appeared to be put out of reach when Westbrook marched 60 yards in 10 plays late in the game. Jordan McCartney finished it off with a 4-yard scoring run to make it 28-14 with just 2:33 left.

The Eagles were not ready to throw in the towel just yet, however. They quickly moved down the field following the kickoff. Robertson threw the ball up and Jake Ponder out-leapt a defender for a 36-yard touchdown with 53 seconds remaining in the game to make it a one-score ballgame.

The ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, though, and the visitors ran out the clock.

“Hokes Bluff came out ready to play,” Osborne said. “We missed some tackles early but Hokes Bluff put forth a great effort and played with a lot of heart. It was a good effort on both sides.”

Jake Kilgo rushed eight times for 77 yards and caught a pass for 11 yards for the Warriors.

Robertson, a senior, finished 9-of-15 throwing for 130 yards and rushed for 47 yards on seven attempts. Beggs rushed 17 times for 132 yards. Jake Ingram, also a senior, recorded an interception.

The Eagles finish the season at 1-9. Next week, Westbrook (7-3) travels to Red Bay in the opening round of the Class 2A playoffs.