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MEMPHIS (November 2) — The West Carroll War Eagles opened the TSSAA Class A Football Playoffs on the road against the Hillcrest Vikings at Booker T. Washington High School. The War Eagles …
MEMPHIS (November 2) — The West Carroll War Eagles opened the TSSAA Class A Football Playoffs on the road against the Hillcrest Vikings at Booker T. Washington High School. The War Eagles blanked Hillcrest to lead by two scores at the half. The Vikings opened the second half with a quick touchdown, but West Carroll stayed at least two steps ahead the rest of the way for a 47-28 win.
The win sets up a daunting Region 7-1A rematch for the War Eagles as they will travel to Tiptonville Friday to face region champion Lake County at 7 p.m. The Falcons traveled to Atwood a month ago and defeated West Carroll 36-7. However, the War Eagles have not lost a game on the road this season (6-0).
West Carroll won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
A squib kick gave the War Eagles good field position at their own 45. Jeremiah Bryant took the first snap for 12 yards on a keeper. Trace Fuller kept the next snap for five yards. Jarrius Weatherford moved the chains with a seven-yard carry, then Fuller kept again for two. Weatherford gained just a yard on second down, but Fuller found a gap on third down to move the chains to the 13. Bryant gained nine, then Fuller punched it in from four yards out. The point-after kick missed, but West Carroll drew first blood for a 6-0 lead with seven minutes to play in the first frame.
A penalty against Hillcrest on the kickoff return started the drive at the 30. The War Eagle defense forced a three-and-out with a tackle by Garrett Brooks and back-to-back passes tipped by Armoni Bonds and Luke Blankenship, respectively. The punt went out of bounds at the West Carroll 29.
Weatherford started the drive with a two-yard run, then lost two. On third-and-ten, Bryant threw to Zach Perry for a 32-yard gain. Weatherford followed with carries for eleven and five yards, then Fuller kept for five more and a first down at the Viking 19. After a short gain by Weatherford, a penalty cost West Carroll five yards. Weatherford made another short gain, then Fuller kept for eight to bring up fourth-and-four at the 13. Weatherford gained five for a first-and-goal at the 8, then made a short gain. Fuller pushed it to the 3 on a keeper as the opening quarter came to an end. Weatherford gained just a yard on third down to start the second. Fuller went into the end zone on fourth down, but a holding penalty negated the score. From 12 yards out, Fuller threw incomplete to turn the ball over on downs.
Viking William Harris started with a 19-yard run to the 31. From there, the War Eagle defense stifled the drive. Bonds, Fuller and Devin Nash made respective stops, and the Hillcrest punt was downed at the West Carroll 34.
Fuller threw incomplete, then Weatherford ran to the outside for 16 yards to midfield. Two consecutive penalties pushed the War Eagles back to a first-and-23 at the 38. Bryant kept twice to make it third-and-ten. Fuller’s pass was dropped, then Nash’s punt was downed at the Viking 10.
Hillcrest managed two first downs, but stalled again. On fourth-and-ten from their own 45, the Vikings’ punt went low and moved the ball just a yard to the 46.
Bryant gained just a yard, but repeated for nine to move the chains. Fuller made a short gain, the Weatherford ran for 15. He then lost a yard, followed by a short gain by Bryant. A penalty made it third-and-13, but Bryant gained eleven down to the 12. On fourth-and-two, Fuller kept for eight to set up first-and-goal at the 4 with a minute to play in the half. He repeated for two yards, then Weatherford lost four. With 20 seconds and the clock running, Fuller kept for the touchdown. Nash added the PAT, and West Carroll led 13-0.
Hillcrest made a solid return to midfield, but the half ended on the first snap as a keeper by quarterback Defavus Ross was stopped for no gain by Bonds.
The Vikings received the second-half kickoff, which sailed out of bounds to start them at their own 40. Ross threw to Harris for six yards, then a penalty moved Hillcrest back to the 41. Ross threw to Nicholas Mathis for a 59-yard touchdown, then threw to Harris for the two-point conversion. Early in the third, the West Carroll lead was cut to 13-8.
Weatherford returned the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Viking 25, and a Hillcrest penalty on first down pushed it to the 20. Bryant gained three, then Fuller kept for a one-yard loss. He gained six on the next attempt to move the chains. Bryant had consecutive seven-yard carries to give West Carroll a first-and-goal at the 1, and Weatherford punched it in. Nash added the point-after, and the War Eagles were again up by two scores, 20-8.
Nash again kicked out of bounds, but Ross threw three incompletions for another Viking three-and-out. A high snap resulted in a low punt that bounced off of a Hillcrest lineman for a ten-yard loss.
The disastrous punt gave West Carroll great field position at the Viking 35. Weatherford lost four, but then gained 19. Bryant kept for 15, then repeated for a five-yard touchdown. A bad snap resulted in a missed PAT, but the War Eagles were ahead 26-8 with just under six minutes to play in the third.
Viking Sammie Kuykendall returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards for a touchdown. Ross threw incomplete on the two-point attempt, and the West Carroll lead was cut to 26-14.
Hillcrest made a false start on the kick and had to retry from the 35. An onside attempt traveled just three yards to give the War Eagles another favorable starting position at the Viking 38. Fuller kept for 21 yards, then Bryant for five. Weatherford was dropped for a loss on second down, but Bryant kept on third-and-long for a 20-yard touchdown. Nash split the uprights, and West Carroll had opened up a 33-14 lead with about four minutes on the third-quarter clock.
After the ensuing kickoff return, the Vikings were flagged for a late hit and forced to start from their own 14. Ross threw for five yards, then kept for two. Harris ran for seven to move the chains, then Ross threw to Mathis for eight yards. Two straight incomplete passes brought up fourth-and-two, but Ross found Braevion Straughter wide open for a 63-yard touchdown. Ross passed for the two-point conversion, and the score was 33-22 with just over a minute left in the third.
West Carroll added a score on a drive that extended into the final frame. The drive looked to be stopped at the Viking 38, but on fourth-and-inches, Bryant took it all the way to the 3. From there, Weatherford needed three tries, but punched it in. Nash added the PAT, and the War Eagles led 40-22.
The Vikings made a strong return to start at their own 42. Ross threw incomplete on first down, then tossed to a running back, who threw an interception to Bryant.
Starting at the Hillcrest 35, Fuller was stopped for no gain. Weatherford ran for 30 to the 6, then ran for three more. Fuller took it in on the next play, but the touchdown was negated by a holding penalty. Bryant lost six, then a delay of game penalty pushed West Carroll back to a third-and-goal at the 23. Fuller threw to Blaine Howell in the end zone for the touchdown, and Nash’s kick made it 47-22 with just under four minutes to play in the contest.
Starting deep, Ross completed consecutive passes for gains of 19 and 25 yards. After missing on two throws, he connected with Harris for a touchdown. Ross was sacked on the two-point attempt, and the War Eagle lead was 47-28 with two and a half minutes to play.
Weatherford started the last drive with a three-yard run, then Fuller kept for five. Weatherford moved the chains on the next play, and time expired.
West Carroll had 426 yards of offense, including 372 yards on the ground. Jeremiah Bryant led with 154 yards on 19 carries, including a pair of touchdowns. Jarrius Weatherford ran 29 times for 121 yards and two touchdowns, and Trace Fuller had 17 rushes for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Fuller also had a touchdown pass.
Quarterback Defavus Ross was the highlight for Hillcrest, completing eight of 22 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns.