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White County holds off West Hall, 24-21
Spartans' second-half rally comes up short in first loss of season
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White County coach Gregg Segraves talks about the win.

CLEVELAND -- Heading into halftime, White County's made field goal seemed like just a culmination of a great 24-point first half by the Warriors.

It ended up being the difference between a win and what would've been gut-wrenching loss to West Hall.

The Spartans scored 21 unanswered points in the second half and put White County on its heels, but the comeback fell short, and White County held on to a 24-21 victory, sending the Spartans home with their first loss of the year.

"It felt good obviously to get the ‘W'," Warriors coach Gregg Segraves said. "But we've got to figure out the third and fourth quarter and score some points and finish the game."

For the second consecutive week, the Warriors (2-2) entered halftime with a lead, and for the second consecutive week they watched the other team climb back in the game. Unlike the 30-7 loss last week to Gainesville, on Friday they were able to stave off a second-half comeback by the Spartans (3-1).

"I give credit to West Hall," Segraves said. "They just didn't go away and give up, and (they) kept fighting. They turned it into a good football game."

Behind what has been dubbed by opposing coaches as Region 7-AAA's strongest offensive and defensive lines, White County controlled both lines of scrimmage and ran the ball all over West Hall in the first half.

"I'm just real proud of the offensive line," Segraves said. "I thought they came off the ball well and controlled the game."

Especially in the first half. Blake Limbaugh rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and Ashely Lowery had 67 yards on 6 carries in the first two quarters, as White County built an early 14-0 first quarter lead.

Limbaugh, who finished the game with 170 yards on 17 carries, gave all the credit to the guys in front of him.

"I had one guy in front of me all night," said the senior running back, who's second touchdown came two plays after Kevin Frederick blocked a West Hall punt, setting up first-and-goal at the Spartans 2. "I didn't get hit at the line all night long. It was awesome."

Limbaugh's coach gave credit to his running back.

"To start on defense and play so much on defense as he does, he just played a great game," Segraves said. "Of course all that's not possible without the guys up front."

After West Hall quarterback Shunquez Stephens scored a 6-yard touchdown to cut the lead to seven points, the Warriors quickly rebounded and scored on their next two possessions.

The final score was a last-second kick by Mark Bardenwarper, who was initially sent in to kick a 59-yard field goal at the end of the half. His kick was short, but West Hall was called for a personal foul that gave the junior kicker a second chance.

The kick was good, and the Warriors headed into the locker room in full control.

When they came out, the Spartans took control.
Stephens orchestrated a 10-play drive on the Spartans first possession that ended with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Penland.

The Spartans drove the length of the field on their next possession, but a field goal attempt at the end of the drive came up short.

Needing a stop, West Hall's defense stepped up and prevented White County from moving the ball for substantial yardage.

With time running out in the game, Stephens capped off a 5-play, 61-yard drive with a nifty 14-yard touchdown run, reaching for the pylon at the end of the run.

But the Spartans failed to score on their next possession, and after Chantz Segraves converted a critical third down from his on 35-yard line, White County sealed the win with a few kneel downs.

"This win gives us confidence," Segraves said. "We know there's something we need to get better at, but there's nothing worse then having a loss on your hand as you head into an off week and then subregion play."

After an off week next week, White County plays host to North Hall (1-2) on Oct. 3. West Hall hopes to rebound from its first loss of the year when it visits City Park to take on Gainesville (4-0) on Friday.


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