Dalviness Greene, left, tries to break a tackle against Jonesboro on Friday. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — Westover coach Octavia Jones was so upset after his team lost to visiting Jonesboro, 34-12, on Friday night at Hugh Mills Stadium, he wouldn’t allow his players to talk to the media.
“After the way we played in the second half, there’s nothing good to talk about,’’ said Jones, whose kids dominated the first half and then watched Cameron Sutton and Jonesboro just take over momentum, the game and the night back home to Atlanta.
It was a happy ride home for the Cardinals, who scored four second-half touchdowns — two by Sutton — to move to 2-0 and stay unbeaten to keep their feet firmly planted in the Class AAAA state Top 10 poll.
But Westover gave Jonseboro fits for awhile. So if Jonesboro is a Top 10 team, where does that leave Westover?
“Oh, they’re a Top 10 team,’’ said Sutton, who has already committed to Tennessee. “That was a battle. They have a real good team. That’s one of our best battles of the year.’’
Westover (1-1) controlled the clock for the entire first quarter except for a handful of seconds (that’s how long it took Patrick Petty to run back a kickoff 75 yards for a TD). The Patriots used two smash-mouth drives, going 52 yards in 12 plays, and then after Petty scored, driving 65 yards in 13 plays. The Pats scored on a 1-yard run by QB T.J. Cromer and a 1-yard TD by Dynamite Dozen selection Dalviness Greene, who gained 78 yards on 18 carries in the first half.
Jonesboro’s offense didn’t get its first snap from center until there was 11:46 left in the second half. Greene, who also caught two passes for seven yards, had more offense in the first half (85 yards) than the entire Jonesboro team, which amassed only 56 yards.
“Westover is a real good team,’’ said Nathan Wardlaw, who ran the team in the absence of head coach Tim Floyd, who is serving a two-game suspension for recruiting violations. Floyd is a Westover grad who wanted to play his alma mater.
Wardlaw handled the pep talk at halftime.
“We made too many mental mistakes in the first half, and they have a good team. We went in at halftime and just challenged the seniors to step it up, and they met the challenge. I really challenged (Sutton) and (Petty) as our two senior leaders and they did along with our other seniors to lead the team. I talked to them about making plays, and they did.’’
Sutton made the play of the night with 2:11 left in the third. Jonesboro scored on a short drive when QB Mario Atkinson got into the end zone on a 1-yard run, and then Sutton added a two-point conversion run to lift the cardinals to a 16-12 lead with 4:34 left in the third. Then moments later, Sutton made a leaping catch and came down the ball, a touchdown and the momentum — and that was all Jonesboro needed with a 69-yard TD catch and run.
“I just got behind the defenders. They had two defenders on me, and they looked at each other,’’ Sutton said. “I’m the only one who saw the ball. I made the catch and just finished. We call them YACs — yards after the catch.’’
That play all but finished Westover, which was never the same, to the dismay of Jones.
“We had a chance at the end of the game,’’ he said. “We had to make two plays and we didn’t do it. We needed two touchdowns, two plays. They needed one play, and they got it from Sutton. That’s the guy I had been preaching about all week. We had him covered and he goes up and gets the ball. He’s a playmaker.’’
Sutton made had three receptions for 103 yards and scored twice — on his 69-yarder and later on a 7-yard run that lifted Jonesboro to a 28-12 lead.
Westover’s offense couldn’t get started in the second half. Greene finished with 92 yards on 22 carries to lead the Pats.
“We have to learn that teams are not going to lay down for us,’’ Jones said. “We’ve got to put teams away.’’
Westover faces Lee County next on Friday.