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Strong defense, rushing attack spark West Forsyth

Wolverines finish 8-2 with 48-7 win over West Hall

POSTED: November 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

CUMMING -- West Forsyth junior Ben Emert had 137 yards rushing and two touchdowns coming on runs of one and 40 yards to lead the Wolverines to a 48-7 win over West Hall on Friday night in Cumming in the teams' season finales.

West Forsyth finished the season at 8-2, 3-2 in Region 7B-AAA.

The win was helped by West Forsyth's defense holding the Spartans (5-5, 2-3) to 174 yards of total offense.

"We played great tonight," West Forsyth coach Frank Hepler said. "The defense really stepped up. It took Chestatee scoring 20 points in the first quarter last week for us to wake up. We did not want the same thing to happen tonight."

Sophomore running back Tyler Lott followed Emert with 49 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Lott's two scores came off runs of 18 and 28 yards.

Sophomore running back Ethan Shirley also ran a 22-yard sweep for a touchdown.

The big surprise, however, was not how the offense ran the ball, but how the defense was able to stop the air and ground game of the Spartans.

"Not making the playoffs was probably the best thing that could have happened to this team this year," Hepler said. "It shows how good we played this season with our record being 8-2, but it also shows how hard it is to make the playoffs in Region 7-AAA itself. We had a great year though. I am just very proud."

On the game's opening drive, linebacker Nathan Teter picked off West Hall quarterback Shunquez Stephens.

That turnover led to Emert's first touchdown run of the game. Ethan Shirley would then make it a 14-0 game on the Wolverines' second drive.

On the Spartans' ensuing drive, Stephens connected with Marquise Stephens for the Spartans only touchdown of the game.

The defensive front for the Wolverines was led by Chris Rubessa and Dustin Gayton. Both players had 2.5 sacks apiece. Andrew Razo had two sacks and Reese Thompson and Jeff Sayer had one each.

The Wolverines special teams also made big plays. Senior Rusty Juneau returned a blocked punt 15 yards for a touchdown.

Senior Rigoberto Quintano blocked another Spartans' punt which led to Lance Baker's only touchdown of the game, an 18-yard run.

With the win, West Forsyth notched its biggest win total for a season in the program's history with eight wins. That sparks optimism for next season.

"I am looking forward to it," Hepler said. "We need to keep getting stronger and faster in order to compete with Flowery Branch and Gainesville. Those are the teams we have to beat. We are losing some key players, but we have a lot of great young guys ready to step up to the challenge and get better. Our offensive will probably be a lot better next year with more experience now. Emert, Lott, and Shirley will make a great group of running backs that we will have. Our receiving core for the most part will be back together, as well as the defense. I am looking forward to next season."



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