Spartans 49, Rebels 0
Difference maker: Kwon Williams had a night that he will remember for a long time. He played nearly every offensive and defensive snap until the fourth quarter, when West Hall’s second string was brought in to ice the game. Williams showed his innate ability to bounce off defenders and find the right holes in Fannin County’s defense for big scores.
Stat that matters: 151 passing yards. Rebel quarterback Brad Davis threw for just 151 yards after coming to Spartan Field as No. 6 in the state for yards per game. Davis couldn’t find any rhythm thanks to West Hall’s cutthroat secondary, but Rebel receivers also dropped a number of catchable passes.
Turning point: A diving catch by Jacob Miller set up Williams for his third touchdown of the night. Miller stretched out to snag the ball, giving West Hall a crucial first down and the confidence it needed to blow the Rebels away.
Who’s next: West Hall travels to Banks County for the final away game of the season, while the Rebels head home to take on East Hall.
West Hall’s first region title in the program’s 27-year history is just within grasp, junior running back Kwon Williams said after a 49-0 shellacking of Fannin County Friday night.
The Spartans need to wait at least one week longer to make that dream a reality.
Williams ran for four touchdowns and returned the second half kickoff for an 85 yard score to give West Hall (7-1, 4-0 Region 7-AAA) its most dominant win over a region opponent this season.
“It feels like it’s right in the palm of our hands,” Williams said. “But we just can’t grab on to it right now.”
Spartan head coach Tony Lotti said his team needed to “strike quickly” to ensure that West Hall continue on its undefeated region streak.
The West Hall offense took up Lotti’s challenge, scoring a touchdown on each of its first four possessions and going into the half up 28-0.
But Williams (8 carries, 285 yards) saved his best for the third quarter, when he worked his way from the left sideline to the right, bouncing off of two would-be Rebel defenders, before bursting up the near sideline for an 85-yard return touchdown.
The Spartans remain firmly in control of their own destiny with the victory, and will look to potentially clinch the region title next week at Banks County. Second-place Lumpkin County was off this week.
“This is a big win for us and a big game,” Lotti said. “I was happy with our preparation and I’m thrilled to death with how we came out today. Now we move to Banks County and see what happens.”
After falling behind early to past region foes East Hall and Franklin County, Lotti said he thought his team was “playing through mud.” That all changed when West Hall forced the Rebels into a quick three-and-out on their first possession before engineering a 2:10 long, five-play drive that ended with Williams charging up the right sideline for a 56-yard score.
A 15-yard rush by Tyquan Statham (2 receptions, 56 yards), followed by a Fannin County illegal procedure flag, set West Hall up on the Fannin 20 on the next drive. Lotti called Williams’ number again and the talented rusher burst through a hole in the Rebel secondary to score, this time from 6 yards.
“We came out here and showed we were capable of doing some pretty special things,” Lotti said. “He and Tyquan, they’re special kids and they’re playing really well.”
Fannin County’s leading rusher Tyler Beaver (13 carries, 53 yards) never found the running room to create opportunities for the Rebels. His 30-yard reception for the longest play of the game for the visitors, but only came after Statham pushed the West Hall lead to 21-0 with a 26-yard run almost a minute inside the second quarter.
The Rebels turned it over on downs soon after, ending Fannin County’s best opportunity to cut into the Spartan lead.
West Hall held head coach Jim Pavao’s team to just 111 all-purpose yards in the first half.
“It sends a message to the rest of the region that we’re not the West Hall we used to be,” Williams said after the game. “We’re a much better West Hall than we’ve ever been and we’re competing for the No. 1 spot.”
Jacob Miller’s 24-yard diving catch along the near sideline set up Williams for his third score of the night with 6:56 left in the first half.
Ty Statham sent Davis into the halftime break with a bruised ego after Statham sacked Davis on his blind side for a 7-yard loss during the final Rebel drive.
Williams saved his best work for after the intermission when he gathered Will Holloway’s opening kickoff on the 15-yard line and followed a crucial block by fellow running back Tyquan Statham.
“The guy made contact and I stayed up,” Williams said. “I tried to make it to the edge, and Tyquan had a crackback block and I could get past it. It was just a foot race by then.”
It was a foot race that three would-be Fannin County tacklers lost convincingly as Williams strolled to the end zone untouched. West Hall racked up 292 rushing yards to Fannin County’s 85.
Lotti intended to pull his star rusher on the next drive, but with six minutes left in the third quarter, West Hall quarterback Jacob Satterfield handed the rock to Williams.
The junior only needed to give West Hall a little breathing room after starting on the 1 after a Rebel punt.
But Williams had other plans, bursting through two different Fannin County defenders to finish a 95-yard score. He was mobbed by teammates upon his return to the West Hall bench.
“He’s a great teammate,” Satterfield said of Williams. “We look at this as the next game we go on to now. It’s all about the next down, the next opportunity.”