A pass of 34 yards ended up in the wrong hands Friday night as West Hall quarterback Jacob Satterfield was looking to connect with Hykeem Bennett with 28 seconds left in the game.
The interception sealed a 21-14 win for Franklin County (4-3, 3-1 7-AAA) over the Spartans (2-5, 0-3) in Oakwood as West Hall tried to stay alive in the battle for a playoff spot in Region 7-AAA.
“It was second and short and we felt like we needed to take a shot,” coach Tony Lotti said. “They made a good pick. It all comes back down to we didn’t make the play we needed and they did.”
Forty-six seconds before the interception was thrown, Franklin County running back Connor Williams (15 carries, 88 yards, 1 TD) crossed the goal line on a 43-yard scamper to give the Lions the lead.
The final drive for Franklin County took 2:26 off the clock, putting the game in West Hall’s hands with 1:14 remaining.
The Spartans had battled back to match the Lions twice earlier in the game, but the final drive wouldn’t do it.
Franklin opened scoring in the contest when quarterback Tyrique David found receiver Jacob Brown for 7 yards with just under five minutes left in the first half.
The Spartans didn’t match the score until the third quarter, but they hit it big. Senior Kwon Williams took the home team’s first offensive play to the house, covering 53 yards on his way.
On a fourth-and-1 play, the Spartans opted for the chance to take the lead on a 23-yard field goal from kicker Israel Lopez, but the kick went wide right.
Senior Darius Coleman Blair (four carries, 90 yards) had a 65-yard run to help set up the field goal attempt for West Hall.
With 4:16 left on the clock, David found receiver Eshaun Hall for a 43-yard touchdown pass and the 14-7 lead.
West Hall needed just two plays and 36 seconds to answer. Williams took the first play 24 yards to the Franklin 39-yard line. Fellow running back Tyrese Osborne (6 carries, 68 yards, TD) carried the ball the final 39 yards for the Spartans’ final score.
Williams was effective on both sides of the ball for West Hall, totaling 90 yards and a touchdown on four carries and 17 yards receiving, while also snagging two interceptions on defense.
The first interception for Williams ended the Lions’ first drive. The second came in the end zone in the fourth quarter to preserve the 7-7 tie he facilitated.
“(Williams) had a much better night tonight,” Lotti said. “We had a talk this morning about things we’re looking for out of him. I was really proud of how hard he came out here and played.”
Satterfield finished the game 5-of-9 for 53 yards and the interception.
Punter Anthony Lotti had four punts for 160 yards.
Lotti said he didn’t know what his message was going to be to his team Monday morning when they meet, but keeping the program focused on finishing the season strong will be a priority.
“I think the big point is understanding who we are as a football program,” he said. “It’s not about a team, it’s about a program. It’s about setting the tone and showing there is no quit in us.
“There are three games left, but I hear there’s some stuff that got jumbled up (in the region),” Lotti continued. “We put our backs against the wall big time with not getting this one tonight. On the flip side, you just never know. This region is really crazy.”
West Hall travels to Fannin County next week for the first of the final three games of the season.