Westbrook defeats Glencoe 12-7 in opener


Westbrook quarterback Jonathan Ford runs outside the block of Ethan Lake (77) as Glencoe’s Scott Bradley looks to make a tackle in Friday night’s game in Rainbow City. (Photo by Sarah DudiK | Gadsden Times)


RAINBOW CITY — Following a scoreless first half where his team was outgained by Glencoe 147 yards to 59 yards, Westbrook Christian coach Tony Osborne had a simple solution: talk to his players.

“Glencoe had a great plan defensively, which I expected, but in the first half, we don’t always get to talk to people between series because they play both ways,” he said. “So (at halftime) we had time to sit everybody down and show them what they were doing and come up with some things we felt like would work.”

The strategy paid off, as the Warriors finally managed to get their offense going in a 12-7 win over the Yellow Jackets at Jack Osborn Memorial Stadium in high school football action Friday.

While the Warriors failed to put on an offensive showcase, Westbrook (1-0) gained 117 yards in the last two quarters while holding the visitors to just 61 yards in the second half. It was enough to get the win over a quality Class 3A opponent.

“God has blessed us, as coaches, with a great group of guys to work with,” Osborne said. “They kept fighting and kept fighting.”

The Warriors’ rebound began with a 35-yard field goal from Chris Underwood with 7:48 left in the third quarter. On the very next series, three consecutive errant shotgun snaps could not be handled by Glencoe signalcaller Hunter Nunnally. On the third snap, Nunnally was forced to fall on the ball in his own end zone, giving Westbrook a safety and a 5-0 edge with 6:07 to go in the third period.

The teams traded fruitless possessions until the hosts took over with 9:23 left in the game. A six play, 80-yard drive capped on a 7-yard touchdown run by Jonathon Ford with 7:43 left in the game was all the points Westbrook would need. Underwood’s kick made it 12-0.

Ford accounted for most of Westbrook’s offense, as he hit on 11 of 29 passes for 128 yards and rushed for 24 yards.

However, Glencoe was not ready to give up just yet. It countered the Warrior score with a 10 play, 59-yard touchdown drive of their own. On fourth and goal, Nunnally hit Daniel Otwell on a 6-yard touchdown pass that gave some life back to the Yellow Jacket crowd. Joseph Bright’s kick made it 12-7 with 3:58 to go in the contest. Nunnally finished the game by hitting 13 of 26 passes for 138 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

It wasn’t meant to be, though. Glencoe got the ball back one more time, with just a minute to go. It was unable to get a first down, giving the Warriors the hard-fought win.

The first half story was the Yellow Jacket’s domination of the contest but inability to get on the scoreboard.

Glencoe (0-1) managed to find a good rhythm offensively by mixing the running game with rollout passes to the sideline. The Warriors, in contrast, struggled to find a rhythm or many yards against the Yellow Jackets’ defense. Westrook managed just 59 yards of offense in the opening two quarters, while Glencoe amassed 147 yards.

Westbrook’s  first opportunity came on the the game’s opening possession. An 11 play, 64 yard drive stalled on the Warriors’ 8 yard line, but Joseph Bright’s 25-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left with 6:10 left in the first quarter.

On the following Yellow Jacket drive, Nunnally made one of his few mistakes in the half when he was picked off by DeVernon Marshall at the Westbrook 39, who returned it to the Glencoe 30 with 2:42 to go in the opening period. The Warriors were unable to do anything with it, losing one yard in four plays.

On the ensuing possession, Glencoe drove to the Warriors’ 34-yard line, but stalled and punted the ball away.

On the last drive of the first half, Westbrook got as far as the Yellow Jacket 27 with :24 left until halftime, but a holding penalty pushed the team out of scoring range.

“It was tough to move the ball,” said Osborn. “We had to work for it. They (Glencoe) are tough defensively.

Jordan McCartney contributed 43 yards rushing on seven carries for the Warriors, while Darrrell Whatley had an interception. For the Yellow Jackets, Thomas Ozmint had 68 yards rushing on 15 carries and Mason Brown added three tackles for loss.

Westbrook opens Class 2A, Region 7 play Friday when it visits Fyffe. Glencoe hosts Weaver in its Class 3A, Region 5 opener.