Westbrook Christian takes on Section
Thu. October 17, 2013 at 9:53 p.m. | By J.J. Hicks Staff Writer
Westbrook Christian’s Randy Williams and the Warriors hosts Section in an important Class 2A, Region 7 game. (Photo by Marc Golden | Gadsden Times | File)
Just when it needed it the most, Westbrook Christian got a big win.
Last week’s 17-7 victory over Class 2A, Region 7 foe Sand Rock could end up being looked at as the turning point in the Warriors’ season.
The prior week, Westbrook suffered a difficult 26-0 loss to Gaston. The defeat hurt the Warriors’ playoff chances and could not have been good for morale.
But instead of mailing it in, the team stepped up with the type performance that was needed.
“We were coming off a loss where we didn’t play exceptionally well,” coach Tony Osborne said. “We were facing a must-win situation, and they (the players) responded with their best effort of the year. It says a lot about their character.”
The victory could be a big momentum-builder for the last few weeks of the regular season.
Right now, Westbrook sits tied with Friday night’s opponent, Section, for third place in the region, meaning that if the season ended today both would make the playoffs.
Still, with Gaston holding the tiebreaker over the Warriors, any loss could be damaging.
That makes Friday night’s game all the more important.
The Lions have not been flashy this year, but they have been effective. They are outscoring the opposition by an average of 27-17. They have allowed more than 22 points in a game just once, and that was in Week 4 when Section lost to Sand Rock 30-23. In the three games since, they have allowed just 35 points total.
Osborne is wary of one player in particular for Section.
“They rely heavily upon their running back (Chris Manning),” the coach said. “He’s an exceptional athlete. They move him around and try to get him the ball in different ways.
“Defensively, they like to keep seven in the box, so we are going to have to try and spread them out a little bit.”
The Lions have scored 77 points over their last two games, so their offense could be hitting its stride. Manning has multiple 200-yard games on his resumé this season.
Westbrook freshman quarterback Wil Appleton continues to come into his own after replacing the injured Jake Kilgo.
The weapons around him include receivers Brien Welch, Noah Hunt and Dylan McClain, and Appleton has continued to make use of them as his starts have grown in number.
Osborne knows what it will take in Friday night’s high-stakes affair.
“We’re going to have to have the effort again to play hard, limit turnovers and slow down number 5 (Manning) a little bit,” Osborne said.