PREP FOOTBALL: Cochran, Dye lead Warrior air attack in 35-35 jamboree matchup

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West Point senior quarterback Will Cochran (Chris Pugh for The Cullman Tribune)

PRICEVILLE, Ala. – It seems like yesterday spring sports were canceled and life came to a halt, but Friday night, the West Point Warriors got two hours under those Friday Night Lights.

Jamborees serve to work out any last kinks as you nail down what you’ve been working on all camp. West Point, coming into the season with 17 seniors and high expectations, used the first half for exactly that.

After falling behind the chains on their opening series, senior QB Will Cochran was able to find fellow senior Jacob Dye for a 65-yard TD to light up the scoreboard less than two minutes into the season.

Priceville, which ran a tight-bunched shotgun offense, took its turn with a “3 yards and a cloud of dust” mentality. With lots of moving pieces and misdirection, the Bulldogs followed their star lineman no. 68 to the end zone after a cutback on a long, physical series.

These opening series seemed to be the blue print for the rest of the half. West Point moved the ball well, while at times falling behind the chains. However, not once, not twice, but three times, Cochran was able to find Dye for 6 in the opening half. Touchdowns no. 2 and no. 3 came from 10 and 33 yards giving Dye an eye-popping first-half stat line of 3 catches, 108 yards and 3 touchdowns for the hat trick.

Dye wasn’t the only Warrior contributing, though. Carter Thornton, Branson Smith, Cade Simmons, Kobe Bowers and running back Kelton Washington all got in the action. Bowers had a long 40 haul while Washington showed he was a true all-purpose back adding a number of yards both on the ground and off the pass.

With seconds left in the half, the Warriors decided to go for a long hail Mary leading to Cochran’s only pick of the night. Priceville tried returning the favor with its own hail Mary as time expired, but after a tip by a fellow Warrior, Carter Thornton caught it and took it back deep into Bulldog territory to take some momentum into the half with the 21-14 West Point lead.

After Priceville came out of the half with a 3-play, 70-yard series, Thornton responded once again with a 58-yard run to regain the lead. The varsity squads wrapped up their nights with one more grind it out series ending with another Bulldog touchdown leaving the varsity tied 28-28 after two and a half quarters.

The junior varsity teams finished the game up each adding a touchdown. Backup quarterback Eli Folds did his best Johnny Manziel impersonation scrambling all over the backfield before he finally took a 14-yard run to the end zone.

West Point Head Coach Don Farley had this to say about the night, “Overall we played OK. Priceville is really well coached and they do what they do really well. They’re really physical and I thought we matched that tonight. We have some things to work out this week. Good Hope has a talented group and they looked really good last night. We have to tighten up on the details. That will come with practice and reps.”

When asked about the biggest thing they have to do this season, Coach Farley channeled his best Mark Ingram: “Trust. QB has to trust the line. Line has to trust the running backs. Receivers have to trust the QB. We gotta trust each other.”

Senior QB1 Cochran echoed his coach’s thoughts, saying, “I think we played a good game tonight, but we have to just get better on the details. We have a big week ahead of us and with this one over we are looking forward to playing Good Hope.”

After their Week Zero tie at 35-35, West Point travels to county foe Good Hope for their first matchup since 2017 where the Warriors won a convincing 37-0. This senior class were just freshmen in 2017 and haven’t forgotten how sweet that win was. They go into week 1 ready to write their own story in this county bout with one focus: trust.

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