Sep. 23—The cross-county rivalry game of East and West Limestone got off to a slow start even with an early lead by West. Once the Wildcats came back from halftime though they hit the gas and held the Indians back on their home field. West would take the win, 31-7, from the East Limestone senior night.
"We needed it. This is a shot in the arm. Beating your cross-county rival makes it even better so we'll take this," West Limestone Coach Shelby Davis said.
West Limestone plays host to Wilson at home next week and then goes on the road for their last three games of the season. East Limestone gets their bye week next and then hosts Lawrence County on Oct. 6.
"We'll go back, [it's an] off week and we'll sit down and assess where we are and what we've got and we'll go from there," East Limestone Coach Clint Woodfin said. "Our kids fight start to finish. I love our guys and I love our will to go fight. They compete start to finish and we'll use that going all the way forward."
West Limestone would start the game off with a strong drive down the field eating up time on the clock in the first quarter. A more than 30-yard rushing touchdown by Easton Smith would put them up 6-0 early on, 7-0 after Alex Martinez's extra point.
East wouldn't be able to get much going before a fumble recovered by the Wildcats. They would hold onto the ball for almost the rest of the quarter getting down the field to give Martinez a chance to put points on the board from about 30 yards back. His kick would be good and keep the score on the rise, 10-0.
After taking over on the field Jake Cochran at quarterback would try to get multiple plays going. Xaiver Edwards would be steady for him but he couldn't connect in the passing game and the Indians would punt back to the Wildcats.
West quarterback Colin Patterson would work with Haven Helms and Landon Navas to get them back down the gridiron for another field goal attempt. This time Martinez would miss.
"We've just got execute a little better. We got a little frustrated at times tonight when something didn't go our way," Davis said. "But, the kids were resilient and they kept fighting and they kept playing ... at the end they found a way to win the game."
East has a chance to start gaining on West but their attempts would be futile and they would punt back once again. West would end up in the same boat, putting the Indians back on the field with one minute to spare in the second quarter.
After a quick drive, they only gained about 15 yards and would punt the ball into the end zone in the last seconds of the first half only to send the Wildcats back to the locker room at halftime.
"Defense put us in a good situation there in the first half," Woodfin said. As for what they could've done better, "obviously, put more points on the board," he said.
The Indians kicked off to West at the start of the third quarter but West would punt it from the half to end their first drive. After a few good plays East would throw the ball, but it would end up in senior Colin Patterson's hands for the Wildcats. The interception gave the team good field position to score and Patterson would be the one to run it in himself, 17-0 after the extra point.
East would start with the ball on their own 30 and with a long drive down the field Alex Mason would get the opportunity to score, 17-7 after the extra point.
West would get the ball back with just under two minutes left in the third and after getting the ball to about the 50 they'd hold on into the final quarter.
After West started the fourth with a play that ran into the East sideline, an unsportsmanlike conduct call was given to the Indians. This drive for the Wildcats would eat up some time on the clock and on a crucial fourth and goal they'd be helped by another flag on East that would give them a first down. The Wildcats would score and with the extra point go up 24-7.
East had a chance to stay in the game but would end up turning the ball over on downs at about midfield after a big play by the Wildcats defense. West was energized and took advantage on the first play with a long run by Easton Smith to score, 31-7 with the extra point.
That run was the top play in Coach Davis' mind. "He was just fighting for every yard and they kind of gave up on the play and he busted through and he finished it off and that was kind of the last nail in the coffin."
East had one more shot but couldn't convert. West would line up in victory formation to end the game.
"We've played some really bad sloppy football at times this year and tonight we showed everybody we're capable of playing some good clean football," Coach Davis said. "The best thing about it is we still haven't played four of our best quarters, so it's still in us. Going down the stretch we're going to need that."