BY JIMMY SCHOFIELD
For The Times
West Hall can rely on its defense.
The Spartans allowed just 150 yards of offense, then found some rhythm offensively in the second half to pull out a 20-0 win against Washington-Wilkes on Friday in Oakwood.
The Spartans defense, led by linebacker Austin Sinclair and Corey Davis along with Jackson Bartlett and Damien Fouts in the trenches kept the Tigers to just 121 yards on the ground.
Meanwhile the Spartans totalled 224 yards (143 rushing), with most coming in the second half after getting off to a slow start with only 6 first quarter yards. West Hall picked up the pace in the second quarter when quarterback Michael Thompson (6-for-7 passing for 58 yards and 68 yards rushing yards) led his unit on a 14-play, 81-yard, six-minute drive that he capped off with a 9-yard keeper for the half’s lone touchdown.
Key plays in the drive included Thompson with a sneak on a fourth-and-1 play and a 12-yard pass to Quentin Smith (68 total yards on nine catches) when the running back snuck out of the backfield on a third-and-7 play for a 12-yard catch early in the drive. The first half saw both teams total only 163 yards (92 by the Spartans, 71 by the Tigers) with a bevy of penalties against both teams.
West Hall gained 129 yards in the second half as they started pounding the ball between the tackles with Cooper Adams and Thompson gaining yards along the interior, spreading the Tigers defense out via their various spread formations.
Adams had 42 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown to cap a nine-play, 54-yard drive that saw the Tigers allow the Spartans a fourth-and-1 from the goal line after three consecutive offsides penalties late in the third quarter.
Adams’ 1-yard plunge was the clincher as it gave the Spartans a 13-0 third-quarter lead in a game in which the Tigers never had a serious scoring threat, though they moved the ball between the 20’s as running back Malik Hall had 58 yards on 12 carries.
Quarterback Donovan Anthony completed only 4 of 13 passes for 31 yards with many of those incompletions just over the outstretched arms of his receivers down field on deep post routes.
“Our defense played very well and I’m very proud of them,” West Hall head coach Tony Lotti said after shutting out the Tigers for the second straight year. “We made a lot of mistakes tonight, had a lot of misalignments but I’ll tell you what, that Washington-Wilkes team is a very good opponent and they’re going to be a problem for a lot of people this year.”
West Hall has made it work with Thompson and Smith sharing time at quarterback.
“They compliment each other and both will be on the field, with one at quarterback and the other at running back, and vice versa,” Lotti said.
Smith capped off the scoring after taking a toss sweep from Thompson and tossing a 23-yard dart to Cameron Shirley for the final points of the game late in the fourth quarter.
“They both embrace the competition and as you can see, both need to be on the field and not standing here by me,” Lotti said.
On Friday, West Hall plays host to Jackson County in Oakwood.