PERRY -- Westfield struggled in a turnover-plagued loss to Deerfield-Windsor during the regular season, but the Hornets turned the tables when it mattered most on their way to a 28-7 victory over the Knights on Friday to earn a return trip to the GISA Class AAA championship game.
“It’s just a great feeling to know that you’re going again (to the title game),” Westfield head coach Ronnie Jones said. “This is a great bunch of kids that play hard, and they did that (Friday).”
The Hornets jumped out to a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game on a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Tucker Moody. After a Deerfield punt, Josh Jenkins made the score 14-0 on a 47-yard run. He extended the advantage to 21-0 at the start of the second quarter with a tackle-breaking 87-yard jaunt up the middle.
Deerfield finally got on the board with just 12 seconds remaining in the half when quarterback Tyler Lowe found Austin Fallow in the right corner of the end zone for a 19-yard strike.
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The Knights carried the momentum into the third quarter, putting together a 13-play drive on the opening possession, but they were turned away on an interception in the end zone by Giles Amos in what would become the theme of the contest.
Westfield forced five interceptions, including three in the fourth quarter to stall Knights drives.
“They hurt us sometimes with the short stuff, but it just seemed like we were always in the right spots,” Jones said.
The Hornets afforded Deerfield plenty of opportunities to get back in the game. Westfield managed just two first downs in the second half as it struggled to put the contest away. Khory Holliday’s 1-yard touchdown run with 32 seconds remaining finally iced the game after yet another interception by Amos.
“Deerfield always plays us good,” Jones said. “I can’t say until I look at the film, but we had a difficult time moving the ball.”
Westfield will now turn its attention to learning as much as it can about Pinewood Christian ahead of its title defense Nov. 29 at Mercer University Stadium. Pinewood advanced by outlasting John Milledge 28-21.
“Pinewood is the only team that I haven’t seen on film at all,” Jones said. “At this point, I know absolutely nothing except they score a lot of points and don’t give up many.”