03/03/2024
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BLADENBORO – Five times in the 2nd half West Bladen’s defense stopped Fairmont in the ‘Red Zone’ and preserved a 14-12 Southeastern Athletic Conference football victory for the Knights Friday on Homecoming night.

Trailing 14-6 at halftime, the Tornadoes’ Cameron Hodge recovered a Knight fumble at the West Bladen 38 yard line, but the Knight defense held the visitors on downs at the Knight 24.

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Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

A 34-yard pass from quarterback Cameron Swett to Christopher Stevenson on the next Fairmont possession moved the ball to the Knight 18 yard line. On 4th down and 7, Swett was sacked by junior Gary Parker and sophomore Cornelius Esters to end the threat.

After a couple of major penalties for illegal block and holding pushed West Bladen back to their 8 yard line, the Knights fumbled a pitch-out and Fairmont recovered at the West Bladen 6. Three plays lost 3 yards, but on 4th down Swett scrambled 9 yards for the touchdown. The conversion run came up short, and West led 14-12 with 1:47 left in the 3rd period.

West Bladen’s Javarrie Adams snared an onside kick and returned it 22 yards to the Tornado 35, but Fairmont’s defense regained possession on downs.

Swett bolted 52 yards around left end to the West Bladen 3 yard line. However a delay of game penalty backed up the Tornadoes, and junior Deonte Lacey sacked Swett for a 4-yard loss. Junior Tyler Ward dropped the shifty Swett at the 8 yard line on 4th down to regain possession for the Knights.

The Tornadoes kept the West offense bottled up, and after a punt from the back of the end zone, Fairmont gained possession at the Knight 24 yard line. Three plays netted 6 yards before Parker sacked Swett again for a 4-yard loss to turn the ball back over to the Knights.

Three penalties and a fumbled snap backed the Knights up to their own one yard line, and after another punt from the back line of the end zone, Fairmont gained possession at the West Bladen 17 yard line. Four incomplete Tornado passes gave the ball back to West Bladen.

Freshman Hezekiah Adams’ 32 yard punt backed Fairmont up to the Knight 47 yard line with 23 seconds left. Three plays later the Tornadoes ran out of time at the West 37 yard line.

“Our defense played outstanding,” said Knight Coach Stanley Williams. “They stayed disciplined and did what the coaches had asked them to do. Deonte Lacey, Gary Parker, Jahmar Richardson, Javonta Matthews, and Tyler Ward were all outstanding. Our defensive ends, Ahmir Stepps, did what we asked them to do.”

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Trinity Lewis was West Bladen’s Homecoming Queen
Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

Lacey led the Knights with 7 tackles (1 sack). Parker had 4 tackles that included 2 sacks. Matthews, sophomore Aaron Lewis and senior Keshawn Ballard were credited with 4 tackles each.

The teams traded possessions in the opening period until Javarrie Adams’ tackle ended a Fairmont possession at the Tornado 46 yard line. The Knights covered 46 yards in 4 plays and overcame another illegal block penalty. Hezekiah Adams flipped a short pass to senior Damarius Robinson in the middle of the field, and Robinson galloped 41 yards for the touchdown. Sophomore Jordan Hester split the uprights with the extra point for a 7-0 Knight lead with 1:38 left in the 1st quarter.

Stepps, a junior, recovered an onside kick to start a 43-yard, 9-play Knight scoring drive. Hezekiah Adams connected with Robinson on a 12-yard pass, then Parker dashed 8 yards. An apparent 23-yard TD pass from Adams to junior Tydrick Stewart was nullified by a holding penalty, but on 4th down, Hezekiah Adams eluded the Tornado pass rush and darted 16 yards for the touchdown. Hester tacked on the point for a 14-0 lead 10:27 before halftime.

Parker pounced on another onside kick at the Fairmont 41. The Knights methodically drove to the Tornado 13 yardline, but another illegal block penalty stymied the drive.

For the game West Bladen was penalized 21 times for 142 yards, while Fairmont was flagged 7 times for 31 yards.

Christopher Stevenson popped free on a busted coverage and hauled in a 40 yard touchdown pass from Swett to slice the West lead to 14-6 with 1:55 on the 1st half clock.

Robinson carried 23 times for 72 yards rushing and caught 3 passes for 59 yards. “He is our workhorse,” said Williams. “He can get you 3 yards, and 3 times 3 is 9. That just leaves 1 for the 1st down.”

Stewart rushed 13 times for 49 yards and caught a 16-yard pass. Hezekiah Adams completed 4 of 10 passes for 75 yards.

Swett supplied the Fairmont offense completing 10 of 29 passes for 106 yards and rushing 8 times for 54 yards.

‘It was a great all-around team effort,” continued Williams. “We had some JV guys who played tonight and gave us some big minutes.”

West Bladen improves to 2-1 overall and is 1-0 in league play. The Knights will travel to East Bladen Tuesday night for a 7 p.m. game.

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