The Clemmons Courier
For the first football game of a new season, the positives were noteworthy — an impressive debut by rookie quarterback Brad Rooney, two interceptions by first-year defensive back Alex Cox and a solid 47-minute performance by the entire defense against a defending 4A state champion.
But for West Forsyth, the one negative was glaring.
“You can’t ever let up,” said West head coach Adrian Snow, referring to a last-minute scoring drive by A.C. Reynolds that proved to be the difference in a 20-14 Titan loss. “We had them pinned inside of their 10-yard line and it looked like we were headed for overtime. In that situation, you have to make sure that you don’t give up the big play.”
But on this night, that’s exactly what happened. Backed up to their own four-yard line with a minute left in the fourth quarter, the Rockets turned to running back A.J. Marion on a running play up the middle. Marion, who had been held to 50 yards on the night by West’s strong defensive play, shook off a couple of hits, bounced to the outside and raced 74 yards to the Titan 22. Three plays later, the Rockets pushed the ball past the goal line to break a 14-14 tie with 13 seconds left on the clock.
After reviewing the game film, Snow said it appeared that Marion was initially hemmed in but “somehow squirted outside and was gone.”
On behalf of the West defense, senior lineman Gassar Sheda said the late Reynolds drive taught the Titans a lesson on consistency.
“Effortwise, I’d give us a 10 out of 10,” he explained later. “We played as hard as we could and played well, especially for a first game. And against a (quality) opponent like Reynolds, I think we surprised some people with how we held them down.
“But that one big play showed us that we have to be more consistent. We’ll use that as motivation for this week’s game against Glenn.”
Snow added that even though West play effectively against an opponent that was a decided favorite coming in, “a loss is still a loss.”
“The bottom line is that we didn’t get the job done,” he said. “Our guys gave a great effort but losing is unacceptable. It’s always been that way at West Forsyth and it’s going to stay that way.”
In addition to the two picks by Cox, West also got an interception from Austin Martinez. Snow also highlighted the play of Chris Neace and Nick Lee.
On the offensive side of the ball, Rooney and Bobby Clark paced the Titans. Rooney completed 15-of-25 passing attempts, including a perfectly-executed screen pass to Clark that resulted in a 40-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Clark, who also scored West’s other TD on a two-yard run in the second half, finished with 58 yards rushing and 59 yards receiving.
On special teams, Chris Price was two-for-two on extra point kicks while Andrew East delivered several key punts.
This Friday night the Titans will entertain another 0-1 team when the Glenn Bobcats visit West. Glenn, which has a first-year head coach in Aldean Payne, fell to North Davidson 40-20 last week.
“Look out for Josh Hawkins,” Snow added when asked about the Bobcats. “He is a terrific running back who will give us fits. Our primary goal will be to contain him.”