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Oconee keeps West Hall reeling, 42-7
Spartans lose second straight game, and maybe QB Stephens
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OAKWOOD — Time doesn't quite heal old wounds, as the West Hall High football team discovered. Still smarting from last week's heart-breaking 2-point loss to Johnson in the final seconds, West Hall lost its second straight Friday night 42-7 to Oconee County.

The Spartans (3-4, 1-2 Region 8B-AAA) gave up two quick scores and couldn't recover. The victory kept the Warriors (2-5, 1-2) unbeaten in the series against West Hall at 5-0.

"Yeah, it hurt. It was hard to rebound," Spartans senior receiver Brandon Fuqua said. "But we had to pick ourselves up and didn't do it."

Oconee County gained 385 yards of offense. The Warriors ran for 246 yards on 29 carries. On the flip side, a normally potent West Hall attack gained just 225 yards.

Santonio Brown had 151 all-purpose yards for the Warriors. Working in a platoon with Connor White, Brown rushed for 79 yards and threw for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Not bad for a player who was thought to be Oconee County's running quarterback.

"We saw both their quarterbacks start games and play whole games," West Hall coach Mike Newton said. "When (Brown) would come in, we figured he would probably run it. When (White) would come in, we figured they would throw it."

White finished 8-of-12 passing for 67 yards.

The Warriors were opportunistic early and jumped out to a quick 15-0 lead after just 1:19. Jamar Thomas took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, and Quin Hall added a 2-point conversion. After West Hall fumbled on the ensuing return, Marquis Smith scored three plays later on a 7-yard run.

West Hall mustered just 124 yards in the first half. It had two plays of more than 15 yards - Fuqua's 17-yard catch from Shunquez Stephens, which set up the combo's 1-yard touchdown connection on the next play, and Stephens' 20-yard scramble as the half ran out.

Meanwhile the Warriors were balanced with 83 yards both running and throwing.

"We spotted them those early points and kept shooting ourselves in the foot," said Newton, who watched his team commit three turnovers. "Last week was a huge letdown, sure. But we can't make excuses. Give credit to Oconee; they came out and played really well."

The knockout blow came early in the second half. After the Warriors recovered one of two West Hall fumbles, Brown hit Smith for a 49-yard score off a double-reverse for a 29-7 lead. Oconee County scored the game's final 27 points.

"They hit us in the mouth," Fuqua said. "They had some good runs and good plays. We have to get back up and play these next two games. There is still a lot for us to play for."

Xavier Grant added a pair of 15-yard touchdown runs to the tally for the Warriors.

Dre Pou led West Hall with 75 yards rushing.

The Spartans played most of the second half without Stephens, who suffered a bruised left thigh early in the third quarter. His status for Friday's game again Monroe Area was unclear Friday night.

"We need to wake up," Newton said. "We still have a few games left to get to .500. It's what these kids want and they'll keep working hard for it."


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