The West Stokes Wildcats opened their 2015 football campaign with a 37-13 victory over 3A Central Davidson Spartans. Alex Manley threw for over 200-yards and three touchdowns in the game to help lead the Wildcats.
West Stokes and Central Davidson have faced each other in their season openers for the last three consecutive seasons. While the Spartans hold a 6-5 advantage in the win column, the Wildcats have won four of the last five games including the last three.
The Spartans took the opening kickoff and drove 78-yards in 12 plays while using over seven minutes of the game clock to score the first points of the night. While the Spartans’ kicker missed the extra-point try, they were still in good position to expand their lead when the Wildcats went three and out and were forced to punt on their first possession of the game and season.
“I felt we got ourselves in trouble a little early in the game,” said Wildcats Head Coach Jimmy Upchurch. “We wanted possession first and they won the flip and choose the ball and it worked out for them when they scored first. It put some pressure on us.”
The Cats forced Central to punt the ball on their next possession and responded with a 41-yard dash to the end zone from Junior, Devan Hairston and an extra-point kick by Patrick Ellis with only 30-seconds left in the first quarter to go up 7-6.
“I love the way we responded,” commented Upchurch. “I love the fight we have. We never once hung our heads!”
The fight by West sparked a barrage of points in the second quarter when the defense forced a block punt, a turnover on downs, and a fumble. The Wildcats scored 16-unanswered points to go up 23-6 before the half. Manley connected with Josh Grubb for a 27-yard touchdown reception and then with Kameron Wall for a 67-yard touchdown. Ellis connected on an extra-point and a 31-yard field goal.
The Wildcats opened the third quarter with a 13-play 80-yard drive to start putting the game away. Manly and Wall hooked up again for a 3-yard touchdown reception. Ellis connected again for a 30-6 lead with 7:07 left. Grubb finished of the scoring for West in the third quarter and the game when he scored a rushing touchdown from one yard out. Ellis spilt the upright for a 37-6 lead.
Central tried to respond, but in their three possessions in the second half, they punted, fumbled and scored a late touchdown with 45-seconds left in the game.
“Their offense is not made to comeback quick,” stated Upchurch. “They run a very discipline hambone offense that is made to run the ball and churn up the time on the clock. I felt if we got up early and stayed ahead it would be hard for them to comeback. Everything worked out good for us tonight. I’m proud of our guys.”
Manley finished with 237-yards of passing, while Hairston led the rushing attack with 141-yards of the 186 rushing yards on 13-carries. Wall led the receiving core with three catches for 78-yards and two touchdowns. Grubb touched the ball five times and scored on two of them.
“Josh has really stepped up big for us,” said Upchurch. “He blocks, runs, catches, and played really well on defense this evening. He is a player!”
Defensively for the Wildcats, Ty Walker led the team with 19-tackles. Caustin Beckner was right behind him with 14, and Matthew Craver finished with 10.
The Wildcats will travel to Mount Airy on Friday night for another tough out of conference game. JV Wildcats will host Mount Airy on Thursday at 7pm.
CD – Jaquez Dawson 1-yard run; kick fail (5:32)
WS – Devan Hairston 41-yard run; Patrick Ellis Kick (0:30)
WS – Josh Grubb 27-yard reception; Ellis Kick (9:17)
WS – Kameron Wall 67-yard reception; kick fail (4:55)
WS – Ellis 31-yard field goal (0:20)
WS – Wall 3-yard reception from Manley; Ellis Kick (7:07)
WS – Grubb 1-yard run; Ellis Kick (0:14)
CD – Clark Black 8-yard run; Andrew Curry Kick (0:45)