OAKBORO — After two weeks of game cancellations, the West Stanly varsity football team finally made its season debut Friday night and claimed a 21-0 victory over Forest Hills.
Both teams racked up penalties and costly sacks, but the Colts (1-0, 1-0 Rocky River Conference) controlled the second half’s momentum with a stout defensive performance and steady rushing attack, while the Yellow Jackets’ (1-2, 0-1 RRC) passing game was thwarted by the speed of the Colts’ secondary.
“The defense played great, minus a few runs there late in the third quarter. That’s the whole thing that kept us going there,” West Stanly coach Brett Morton said. “It’s the first game, so we made way too many mistakes on offense with missing assignments and not getting the right guys blocked. Hats off to Forest Hills — they had a good game plan that forced us to execute situations a little differently than we thought we’d have to. We got adjusted in the second half and started making it work.”
Morton says his team was too “keyed–up” during the first half of the game — perhaps from two weeks of COVID-19 protocol-related cancellations — but eventually settled into a groove once the Colts running backs started finding open ground.
Without standout rusher and NC State commit Jordan Poole (who decided to graduate school early), West Stanly is confident using a backfield by committee this season.
“Those guys can play with anybody,” Morton said. “Blake (Helms) makes really good cuts, Gavin (Hudson)’s a bruiser downhill, Braden Hartsell, Logan Little — I think all those guys played really well tonight. We finally started opening up some holes and running lanes there in the second half.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Colts capped a long drive with a 7-yard touchdown scramble at the 8:28 mark of the second quarter. West Stanly forced a fumble by Forest Hills one minute later, but the Colts were unable to build on the lead and were ahead 7-0 at halftime.
Midway through the third quarter, senior Logan Little broke free for a 10-yard dash to the left corner of the end zone. The Yellow Jackets responded with their longest offensive drive of the game, an effort that eventually led to an interception at the 1-yard line by West Stanly junior linebacker Khaleel McAuley.
The Colts’ defense held steady for the rest of the contest and their offense closed out the matchup with a 15-yard touchdown run by Hudson.
West Stanly’s next matchup is a road trip to Central Academy of Technology of Arts (0-2, 0-1 RRC), while Forest Hills will look to regroup at home against Montgomery Central (1-1, 0-1 RRC).