Westbrook Christian hosts Sand Rock


Westbrook Christian’s Wil Appleton and the Warriors take on Sand Rock on Friday night. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times | File)


Westbrook Christian and Sand Rock each are battling for a playoff position out of Class 2A, Region 7, and Friday night’s game between the teams could be very important in determining where they stand at the end of the regular season.

The Warriors (3-3, 2-2) and the Wildcats (4-2, 2-2) are two of four teams with a .500 region record. Fyffe, at 4-0, and North Sand Mountain, at 3-1, currently hold the top two spots in region play. Thus, a loss would be very tough for Westbrook or Sand Rock to overcome.

Each team is coming off a region defeat. The Warriors fell to Gaston 26-0 last week, while the Wildcats pushed the Red Devils to the brink before losing 19-13.

“As the season goes on, they get bigger and bigger,” Westbrook coach Tony Osborne said. “Because of last week, this one is even bigger. I told the guys that we really need to win out in region play to get in a good situation and keep it in our hands. If we don’t, it’ll come down to a tiebreaker or we’ll be out altogether.”

In the game against the Bulldogs, Westbrook struggled to get its offense going for the first time since freshman Wil Appleton took over at quarterback for the injured Jake Kilgo.

“Like I said right after the game, they (Gaston) played hard and inspired,” Osborne said. “We had some breakdowns offensively we normally don’t have. We just had too many negative-yardage plays.”

The Warriors hope Appleton will be back on track Friday night, and he still has weapons such as Brien Welch, Noah Hunt, Jake Christenberry and Dylan McClain to get the ball to. However, Randy Williams will not play against Fyffe, Osborne said, because the receiver suffered a concussion against Gaston.

Westbrook will go up against a Wildcat defense that allows a respectable 19.7 points per game.

“Defensively, they are big and have a really good front seven,” Osborne said. “It’s tough to run against them. We want to stay out of obvious passing situations that we got into last week and be able to run the ball and mix it up. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Before the loss to Fyffe, the Wildcats had won two in a row, including a victory over a solid, 3A Plainview team in Week 5.

Sand Rock relies heavily on quarterback Dylan Mackey, who can throw and run with equal effectiveness. This season, it also has relied upon a running game that has utilized players such as Chandler Mackey and Austin Chambers.

“The main thing is that we have to stop the run,” Osborne said. “This year, they are a little more run heavy. They run a tight end and two backs out there and run between the tackles. They have some veteran linemen who are strong. They can throw the ball when they need to.”