BIRMINGHAM – Wenonah capitalized on two West Point turnovers in a span of 1:48 in the second quarter, allowing the Dragons to break open a close game with the Warriors, knocking them out of the AHSAA 5A state playoffs by the final score of 42-8 Friday night.
Martavius Simmons returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown with 4:55 remaining until halftime to extend the Dragons' advantage to 29-8.
Then the Dragons recovered a fumble inside the West Point 20 and added another touchdown to their side of the scoreboard, leaving the field at halftime with a 36-8 margin.
West Point made a game of it, scoring 15 seconds into the second quarter and was down 15-8. But the Dragons used good field position to get back a two-touchdown lead and got what they needed from the defense, converting the only turnovers the Warriors had all evening into two scores and a huge cushion once the game reached halftime.
West Point saw Wenonah take the kickoff and march 50 yards, scoring on a 41-yard pass play from Carlos Rogers to Will Moore, and the extra point by Rogers gave the Dragons a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the battle.
The Warriors came up with a big play when Kolton Easterwood hit Noah Allison for a 46-yard gain to the Wenonah 10-yard line. But four plays later, the Warriors failed to produce points when tailback Cameron Moore was cut down short of the 1-yard line and Wenonah took over.
Wenonah drove 99 yards and extended the advantage to 15-0 by a 9-yard run from Telvin Miller and a 2-point conversion from Rogers.
West Point took over after the second Wenonah TD from their 33 and got a 38-yard pass by Easterwood to Allison that set the Warriors up at the Wenonah 25 when the second quarter began.
On the second snap of the period, Easterwood threw a strike to Allison for 25 yards and Austin Smith ran in the conversion, giving the Warriors some confidence as they trailed 15-8 with the entire second stanza still left to be played.
But the Dragons took advantage of West Point squib kicking, ran it downfield for a 56-yard touchdown drive and went up 23-8 after Rogers scored on an 8-yard run and Demond Brown carried it over for the 2-point play.
The turning point was two series later for the Warriors from their 31 when Easterwood's pass was poorly thrown and returned for a score by Simmons. Wenonah led 29-8 with 4:55 still to play in the quarter.
The Warriors struggled moving the ball, and Easterwood got hit, and the ball was free for the Dragons to pounce on at the West Point 16.
A 12-yard pass by Rogers to Brown finished off the scoring for the Dragons in the first half as they led at the break, 36-8.
Wenonah had 193 yards of offense at intermission and kept West Point's vaunted running game in check, yielding only 14 yards with the Dragons swarming on Moore all night long.
The Warriors turned the ball over on downs to begin the third quarter with the Dragons going 49 yards and getting their final TD of the contest. The score came on an 18-yard run from Miller. The extra point was blocked and the Dragons were in command by the margin of 42-8.
West Point's offense netted 13 yards in the second half with Moore unable to get free against the quick and athletic Wenonah defense. One of the top running backs in the county all season, Moore managed 25 yards on 25 carries.
The Warriors' success was by the air with Easterwood throwing for 144 yards in the first half and 146 on the night. Easterwood completed 11 of 17 attempts, throwing for 91 in the opening quarter and getting 53 during the second.
Allison caught three passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, Moore was on the end of six throws for 8 yards, Cameron Bates had two catches for 7 seven yards and Dalton Freeman had one reception for 16 yards.
West Point finishes the season at 6-5, making the 5A playoffs for the third consecutive season under coach Don Farley. The Warriors were in the Birmingham area for the second time in three years. They were defeated in round one of the 2014 postseason by Parker High School, not far from Wenonah, by the final of 28-9.
The Dragons will take on undefeated Brooks, who outscored Arab in the first round 56-30. They have an 8-2 record and have won five in a row.
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