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Defense sparks White past West Hall, 26-7
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CLEVELAND — White County notch its first victory of the season by beating West Hall 26-7 Friday night in Cleveland. 

The Warriors (1-2) got a tremendous effort from their defense and harassed the Spartan offense most of the night by forcing four turnovers. The offensive attack of White County also held up their end with 164 rushing yards and 154 passing yards. 

“Our first win of the year. Our guys have worked extremely hard through the summer months putting in a new offense and a new defense. We’re excited to be able to get a win this week,” Coach Bill Ballard said.

White County got on the board first after trading opening possessions with West Hall (0-3). Quarterback Will Brock found Andrew London open out of the backfield. London got a key block from Jeffery Scoggin that sprung him for a 61-yard gain down to the West Hall 2-yard line.

On the next play, running back Ryan Kennedy scored up the middle to put the Warriors up 6-0 with 4:56 left in the first quarter. 

“That play got us going. It helped us loosen up a little bit and helped us get into a rhythm,” Brock said. 

The Warrior offense then scored on three of their next four possessions that pushed the lead to 23-0 at the half. Kennedy led the 17-point second quarter with two more touchdowns. The first came on an option pitch from Brock and he waltzed in the end zone from 5 yards out to put his team up 13-0 with 10:35 left in the half.

After a fumble recovery by James McClure for White County, Kennedy scored from 3 yards out to put his team up 20-0 with 5:13 left before halftime.

An interception by Dalton Whitfield led to the final points of the first half for the Warriors when Tucker Rey’s 27-yard field goal pushed the Warriors’ lead to 23-0. 

“We were just so flat in the first half. In the second half, we came back and only gave up three points defensively” West Hall Coach Mike Newton said.

Rey’s 34-yard field goal with 5:07 left in the third quarter was the only points in the second half for the Warriors.

The Spartans had a strong defensive effort in the second half but also received a great effort from their offense, passing for 128 yards and a touchdown. Chandler Newton hooked up with A.J. Stephens on a 14-yard fade route to make the score 26-7 with 7:23 left in the game. 

The Warrior defense stood strong and didn’t allow the Spartans to score again. 

“Our defensive front did a great job this week.” Ballard said. “We did a lot better job covering this week than we did last week against Gainesville. 

The Warriors were led on offense by Kennedy’s 53 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Whitfield added 41 yards on nine carries for the Warriors.

Brock had 154 passing yards on five completions on the night. Freshman Maurice Sutton also added an interception for the Warrior defense.

“We’re very young,” Ballard said. “Our young guys are growing up. It’s fun to see guys young like that make plays.”

The Spartans were led by Newton’s 176 passing yards with one touchdown. Stephens had three catches for 25 yards and the lone Spartan score. Sophomore Cameron Johnson had a big second half with four catches for 92 yards. 

“We threw the ball much better this time around,” Newton said. “We’re not going to give up on the running game. White County’s a good football team. We just got to get better. We have got a tough game coming up in Stephens County.” 

White County plays host to Oconee County while West Hall plays host to Stephens County next Friday.

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