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West starts fast, rips Dawgs despite Waters

In the second installment of the “Battle of West Knoxville,” homestanding West (7-2, 4-2), flashing a lethal combination of speed and strength, simply stampeded Bearden (5-4, 3-3).

The Rebels raced to a 28-0 halftime lead and finished with a 42-14 victory, a televised game in the Knoxville area, on a cold night at Bill Wilson Field.

West raced to a 14-0 first quarter lead, scoring on two of its first three possessions. The Rebels added 14 more in the second quarter to put the game out of reach.

“West did a great job,” BHS head coach Brad Taylor said. “Their speed was obvious. They were more physical than we were, more than what we could handle. They would bring pressure off the edge with their physical linebackers.”

Bearden managed scores on its first and last possessions of the second half, capped by touchdown runs by Trent Waters, who played significant snaps of 20 and 25 yards in the place of Josh Haney.

Waters ended up the night with an impressive 151 yards.

Taylor said that Haney might have “gotten his bell rung” in the first half, adding he “hoped” that Haney might be available versus Knoxville Catholic.

“The plays just clicked,” Waters said. “I made the most of the opportunity. I saw the hole and ran. There was great blocking up front. The first one was easy. The hole was big. It was definitely a confidence-builder, and I hope it gives everybody confidence.”

Bearden lost the field position battle decisively. West's George Bullock knocked kickoff after kickoff through the end zone, while Bearden continued to have coverage issues, particularly after Waters' first score, when the Rebels returned the ensuing kickoff to the West 46.

“We didn't cover kicks well, and their speed had a lot to do with it,” Taylor said.

Bearden fell behind early, what with the Rebels taking the game's first drive in for a score, thanks to a short kickoff.

Next for West was a 65-yard screen pass touchdown that broke wide open down the near sideline.

Jake Jolley missed connections on a third-down pass in the right flat, Jolley being tagged by a Rebel defender well after the ball came loose.

A hush came over the crowd as Jolley was tagged by a Rebel defender and did not get up. He left the field in an ambulance some 20 minutes later. “It was mostly a precautionary thing,” Taylor said. “The wait didn't help or hurt the team. We were about the same before and after.”

West scored twice more before the halftime break, led by some nifty running by Rebel quarterback Ryan Francis.

“They really played physically,” Cole Matherly said. “Their offensive line was quick and was finishing their blocks. They used a lot of misdirection.”

Bearden got a late turnover that led to the final margin being established at 42-14.


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