The long interception return for a touchdown against Dawson County was quite the thrill for West Hall cornerback Ashun Favorite, but it was his double-overtime pass deflection in the end zone that cinched the 30-23 win for the Spartans (4-1) against a strong Dawson County squad on Friday in Oakwood.
“He also had a long run for a touchdown, but it got called back on a holding penalty,” said West Hall coach Tony Lotti, summing up the amazing night by Favorite.
For his efforts, Favorite is The Times Football Player of the Week.
Lotti knew for his team to be successful this season, Favorite, a senior, would have to be one of his leaders.
And produce he has.
Once the 5-foot-10 Favorite swatted the ball away from the reach of Dawson County’s much taller receiver, a sea of West Hall’s fans descended onto the field to soak up the moment of winning a thrilling back-and-forth contest against a former region rival. West Hall’s shutdown corner said the game-saving play was made possible by gaining good body position, then getting his hands up to disrupt the reception attempt.
“Ashun really had good position,” said Lotti, talking about his three-year starter. “He knew it was coming his way.”
Earlier in the game, Favorite got his team going in the right direction with a 55-yard pick-six. The interception itself was nice enough as it once again swung the momentum of the game back in the Spartans’ favor. Once Favorite had the ball going in the other direction, he cut across the field and picked up lane-clearing blocks by his identical twin brother, A.J., and linebacker Patrick Hudson.
“Once he picked it off, he saw green grass in front of him,” said Lotti.
West Hall’s most athletic defensive back has always preferred playing on that side of the ball. Ashun said he loves the mental game of keeping tabs on which direction the wide receiver is going by reading the other player’s hips. Favorite is also confident in his speed to keep up stride for stride with the deep-ball threat on the other side.
And the verbal sparring that goes on between football players? Ashun said he enjoys that part of the game too.
“I’ve always loved playing defense,” said Favorite. “Playing running back is really just a second option for me.”
Lotti said there’s rarely a time when Favorite comes off the field. Ashun is also a leading candidate to return kickoffs and punts for West Hall.
“If we give him a breather, it’s usually on offense,” said Lotti.
Favorite will be tested in the secondary again this week against Class AA’s No. 7 Rabun County (2-0) quarterback Bailey Fisher, who has thrown for 643 yards and six scores.
On Oct. 7, West Hall faces a much-improved Chestatee (3-2) in the Region 7-AAAA opener in Gainesville.