MOULTON – From the opening kickoff to the final seconds of the game, West Point showed the heart and determination that earned them a spot in the 5A state playoffs.
West Point received the ball to open the first-half action and it didn’t take long for the Warriors to strike. The Red Devils of Lawrence County kicked the ball directly to senior wide receiver and return man Brandon Farley and he made them pay. Farley found a crease in the wedge and he hit it full speed, breaking through and racing up the far sideline for an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown just 13 seconds into the game.
Lawrence County returned the favor with a big return of their own, starting their first drive of the game at the West Point 32. Back-to-back rushes from Rodney White and Justice Jones failed to gain, forcing the Red Devils to go to the air. Codey Blankenship’s throw to Jacob Gholston was on the money to give Lawrence County the touchdown from 32 yards out to tie the score at 7-7.
The Warriors got a score late in the quarter on a pass from Kolton Easterwood to Farley that went for 55 yards and overcame a first-and-42. Lawrence County quickly responded with a 63-yard burst by Jones to once again tie the score, 14-14, ending the first quarter.
Midway through the second frame, the Red Devils took their first lead of the game when Blankenship hooked up with Mason Lee for a 56-yard pitch and catch for a touchdown. Lawrence County led 21-14 with 8:41 in the half.
The two teams traded punts over the next two possessions but it was the Warriors that got the final possession of the half and they made it count. On the legs of Easterwood and Cameron Moore, the Warriors chewed up 45 yards and capped the drive with a Moore touchdown from 3 yards out to tie the game for the third time, 21-21, as both teams headed to the locker room for the halftime break.
Lawrence County got the ball to start the second half as they looked to take back the lead. The Red Devils went 54 yards in 13 plays and found themselves facing a fourth-and-3 from the West Point 5. The Red Devils opted to go to the air, but West Point had a little something to say about that. As Blankenship looked for his receiver in the front of the end zone, Hunter Persall read his eyes and stepped in front of the pass, speeding 100 yards the other way for the pick six. The score put West Point on top 28-21 and turned out to be the final score of the game as the Warriors won 28-21 and gained a huge amount of momentum heading into next week’s first-round playoff matchup at Wenonah.
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