WEST POINT, Ala. – After falling just short in its home opener against Lawrence County last Friday, West Point looked to bounce back as the Warriors took on Boaz in their region opener Friday night. In what was a tale of two halves, the Warriors fell just short at the end, 28-25.
The Pirates didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard, scoring on a 20-yard pass to make it 7-0. Kelton Washington got some huge yards for West Point on its opening possession, but the drive stalled and the Warriors were forced to punt. Boaz quickly found the end zone again on a 2-yard run to make it 14-0.
West Point started its next drive on the 16-yard line and pounded the ball on the ground behind Washington, Will Cochran and Carter Thornton. Cochran was 3 for 3 for 36 yards during the drive as well, but the drive nearly stalled when he threw an interception. Then the ball got stripped and Kobe Bowers fell on top of it at the 17-yard line. Washington finished off the drive with a 5-yard run and the Warriors cut the deficit to 14-6 with 11:40 remaining in the first half.
The Pirates found the end zone again on a 15-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 21-6. West Point looked to answer, but was forced to punt, and Boaz made it 28-6 in just five plays on a 1-yard touchdown run. On West Point’s next drive, Cochran threw an interception, and the score stayed the same at the half.
Most of the third period was scoreless. After the Warriors forced a Boaz punt, West Point’s running game continued to wear down the Pirate defense, with Washington racking up all 38 yards on the ground, including the final 18, to make it a 28-12 game with 1:12 remaining in the third. The Warrior defense got a huge turnover when Poncho Perez picked off a Pirate pass and returned it to the 41-yard line.
Cochran carried the load on the ground for West Point, and a key pass interference penalty kept the series alive for the Warriors. Cochran finished off the drive with a hard-nosed 9-yard run to cut it to 28-18 with 9:46 remaining in the contest, and the momentum was quickly swinging the Warriors’ way. West Point got the ball after forcing yet another punt and on just the second play, Cochran found Bowers for a huge 94-yard touchdown pass, and just like that, it was a 28-25 game with 6:08 remaining.
The defense forced a huge turnover on downs on its next possession, giving the Warriors an opportunity to win the game late. Washington converted on fourth down to help keep the drive alive. Cochran picked up another first down, and later on, West Point was faced with a fourth-and-19 from the 40. Cochran threw a hail Mary to the end zone, but it got knocked down, and the Warriors fell just short by three, 28-25.
Cochran finished 9 of 20 for 164 yards and a touchdown and added 79 more on the ground and a score as well. Washington added 153 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. Bowers ended up with 104 yards on just two receptions and a touchdown. Perez added an interception for West Point (0-3, 0-1), and the Warrior defense shut out the Boaz offense for the entire second half, helping his team get back in the game.
The Warriors will continue region play next Friday night when they host Fairview.
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