Daily photo by Brennen Smith|
West Morgan's Terrance Carter, left, tracks down East Limestone running back Jonathan Pinque.
Early lead lifts West Morgan past E. Limestone
By Brooke Milam
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CAPSHAW — The West Morgan High crowd began celebrating early.
The Rebels' team waited until the final seconds.
Either way, it was West Morgan's night. While waving their arms to get the crowd on its feet, the players reveled as the Class 2A Rebels knocked off 4A East Limestone 24-6 in the final regular-season game for both teams.
"We practiced hard all week and got after a good football team," said West Morgan coach Pierre Coggins, a former East Limestone assistant. "I think our kids did an outstanding job of taking their turnovers and turning them into points, and that's what put us over the top."
The final week of the high school football regular season usually looms as a distraction for teams that will enter the state playoffs, but Rebels senior quarterback Josh McAbee said it was as good a game as he could imagine for his team as West Morgan (6-4) prepares to travel to Woodland in the first round.
East Limestone (7-3) will travel to Tarrant in the opening round.
"We wanted to come out here and win our eighth football game, but we didn't do that and maybe that's a good thing," East Limestone coach Jeff Pugh said. "Maybe we were thinking we were a little better than we are. They played hard, and they deserved to win."
McAbee said his team was careful not to get overconfident. West Morgan built a 24-0 halftime lead, but expected East Limestone to come out strong in the second half.
"During halftime and when we came back out, we just had to keep the momentum up," McAbee said.
Indeed, the second half was the key for West Morgan, which held the advantage as East Limestone regrouped after halftime. But it was too late for the Indians, whose only score came on a 30-yard touchdown pass to O'Neal King from Cade Medley.
"We lost the football game in the first half," Pugh said. "But we're still in the playoffs and we've got to forget about it."
West Morgan scored three times off East Limestone turnovers.
After McAbee's 3-yard touchdown run and Jared Spooner's extra point gave West Morgan a 7-0 lead a little more than a minute into the second quarter, the Indians lost a fumble on the 31-yard line. Terrance Carter's touchdown run on the next play put the Rebels up 14-0.
East Limestone fumbled another snap on the ensuing possession, giving the ball up on its own 20-yard line. Spooner kicked a 32-yard field goal to cap the drive, making West Morgan's lead 17-0 with 4:14 to go in the half.
West Morgan's Quinton Davis intercepted a pass late in the first half to give the Rebels the ball on East Limestone 25-yard line. Four plays later, McAbee found Blake Gholston for a 15-yard touchdown pass that put West Morgan ahead 24-0.
East Limestone's lone score came with 3:25 to play in the third quarter.
"We took advantage a lot," McAbee said. "They gave the ball up, and we capitalized."
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