Prep Football: East Coweta begins region play perfectlyBy DREW BRANTLEY
Special to The Newnan Times-Herald
ATLANTA — East Coweta found its stride in the second half on both sides of the ball to start of the Region 3-AAAAAA schedule with a 24-7 win at Westlake on Friday.
After dropping four straight non-region games, the Indians came off a bye week with a much-needed victory over a Lions team that ruined Homecoming at East Coweta last year.
“We needed both (a region win or any victory),” East Coweta head coach Clint Wade said. “We’ve had some hard times. Getting that first region game is key. Our kids came through. We made some adjustments at halftime and they came out and executed.”
Westlake quarterback Renard Battle — who led last year’s victory over the Indians — supplied much of the Lions offense on a 69-yard run that set up a second-quarter pass to Jamauri Elliott. That gave the hosts a 7-3 lead to counter a 40-yard field goal by Spencer Smith.
A turnover inside the Lions 20 and dropped passes kept the Indians to just a field goal in the first two quarters.
The second half proved better, due to a better mindset, Indians' QB Bryce Gemmel said.
“In the first half we were flat,” Gemmel said. “We were flat during warmups. After halftime, we came out with more intensity.”
The East Coweta defense sacked Westlake quarterback Renard Battle twice on the first drive of the third, and a short punt gave the offense a short field at the 30. Gemmel directed the Indians inside the 10 and hit Alex Portress for a 9-yard scoring pass.
On the next Lions possession, linebacker Jay McKnight, who had been in on the two sacks during the squad’s previous series, picked off Battle’s pass attempt at the Westlake 29.
“We had an inspirational talk at the half,” McKnight said. “Coach told us our season was going to change if we didn’t come out and play like we can.”
McKnight, who broke his hand earlier in the season at Sandy Creek but never missed a game, said getting that interception was big for him and the team.
“I’ve had interceptions before, but not one that meant as much as that one did,” he added.
Regaining the ball after the pick, Gemmel hit Markell Boston in the end zone on the next play for another touchdown to go up, 17-7. The Lions never recovered.
Demarcus Godfrey supplied the running game that kept the first down markers moving and the explosive Westlake offense off the field. He finished with 149 yards on 19 carries and an 8-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Godfrey said the players up front led the way for the rushing yards.
“Our line showed what we came to do,” Godfrey said. “We came together like a family and came together as one.”
And he said that will be needed more as they continue the region schedule.
“It was very important (to get a region win),” Godfrey said. “Coach Wade always tells us stay the course. That’s what we’re going to have to do.”
SCORING SUMMARY – East Coweta 24, Westlake 7
East Coweta 0 3 14 7 — 24
Westlake 0 7 0 0 — 7
EC — Spencer Smith 40 FG
W — Jamauri Elliott 3 pass from Renard Battle (Caleb Green kick)
EC — Alex Portress 9 pass from Bryce Gemmel (Smith kick)
EC — Markell Boston 29 pass from Gemmel (Smith kick)
EC— Demarcus Godfrey 8 run (Smith kick)