Sportspage Game of the Week
At West Point Stadium:
Arab 6 20 0 0 - 26
West Pt 7 0 6 14 - 27
Arab: Jordan Hardin 7 run (Kick failed) 10:46 in 1st
WP: Hunter Persall 2 run (Stephen Rodriguez kick) 0:57 in 1st
Arab: Matt Tunage 4 run (Cole Simmons kick) 11:52 in 2nd
Arab: Christian Eaton 3 run (Kick failed) 5:39 in 2nd
Arab: Charles Reynolds 25 pass to William Hudson (Simmons kick) 0:00 in 2nd
WP: Rylan Jones 18 run (Kick failed) 10:00 in 3rd
WP: Persall 12 run (Rodriguez kick) 9:37 in 4th
WP: Jones 33 run (Rodriguez kick) 0:51 in 4th
FLASH NOTES: Mistakes were made by West Point throughout the contest, but the Warriors were able to offset the miscues, shutting out the Arabian Knights in the second half, driving the ball into the end zone twice in the fourth quarter on a short series and a very long series, making plays when it came critical for Don Farley's squad to do so.
In the first half, Arab executed its offense to solid numbers, 227 yards rushing and 65 passing for 292 total by halftime and a three-touchdown advantage.
A back breaker it seemed at the time it happened for the Knights was a 25-yard TD pass from Reynolds to Hudson on the final play of the half. Arab had just yielded West Point's potent offense 76 yards by the break, five first downs and kept Persall under wraps with 39 yards on the ground and had tackled him four times behind the line of scrimmage.
Coach Farley went back to basic football, seeing the Warriors win the third quarter by a 59-yard drive to open the half in just two minutes and gain 105 yards in the period, allowing the Knights 34 yards and two first downs.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Warriors hit disaster when Persall fumbled after catching a pass from Jones that gave Arab the ball at the Knights 10-yard line.
The special teams for the Knights gave coach Oscar Glasscock a headache all night. A 9-yard punt allowed West Point to set up a series at the Arab 19 in which Persall ended it on a 12-yard run and the conversion from Rodriguez closed it to 26-20 with still plenty of time remaining, 9:37.
Arab had a good drive on its next series, going from the 20 and reaching the West Point 49. But a false start forced the Knights to give up possession. A 30-yard kick had the Warriors pinned at their 19 with 3:46 remaining.
Jones tried to get rid of a pass on 1st down, but was penalized 10 yards back to the West Point nine for intentional grounding. The Warriors faced a fourth down play from their 23 and moved the ball to the West Point 49 when Jones hooked up with Kobe Bowers for a 26-yard gain.
The Jones and Rodriguez teamed up for a 10-yard completion and a first down at the Arab 39. A six-yard run by Jones brought it to the 33, where Persall took a handoff, went up the middle, then sprinted to the left side and was free to the end zone. Rodriguez booted the extra point down the middle and the Warriors were in front 27-26.
Arab took over on its 23, then saw the Warriors seal up the comeback when Roedriguez intercepted a Reynolds pass near midfield. West Point ran out the clock to go 2-0 on the season and enjoy a memorable victory in the first time the Warriors and Knights met on the gridiron.
The West Point domination offensively was evident in the second half with the Warriors gaining 156 yards rushing, 49 passing, 205 total, nine first downs. They allowed Arab 57 second half yards by the ground, 14 in the air, 71 total, four first downs in the final 24:00.
Up next for West Point: Vs. Hamilton Friday 7:00
Photo of Arab QB Charles Reynolds (7) moving his team toward the West Point end zone.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
Sportspage AHSAA Thursday night special
At West Point Stadium:
Fairview 6 0 7 14 - 27
West Point 14 20 7 14 - 55
WP: Hunter Persall 6 run (kick failed) 6:10 in 1st
FV: Dante Dumas 89 kickoff return (kick failed) 5:58 in 1st
WP: Brayden Martin 3 run (Rylan Jones run) 1:27 in 1st
WP: Jones 27 pass to Kobe Bowers (kick blocked) 9:56 in 2nd
WP: Jones 8 run (Steven Rodriguez kick) 5:39 in 2nd
WP: Persall 27 run (Rodriguez kick) 1:02 in 2nd
WP: Persall 66 run (Rodriguez kick) 9:30 in 3rd
FV: Dayne Black 6 run (Devan Jennings kick) 5:22 in 3rd
WP: Jones 19 pass to Kolton Sapp (Rodriguez kick) 11:51 in 4th
FV: Mason Black 5 run (Jennings kick) 7:51 in 4th
WP: Kelton Washington 58 run (Rodriguez kick) 6:05 in 4th
FV: Parker Martin 5 run (Jennings kick) 0:23 in 4th
FLASH NOTES: West Point went to work of getting the ball into the Fairview end zone thre times in the second quarter, turning a close game into being well controlled.
The Warriors attacked the Aggies for 125 yards rushing in the second period as Hunter Persall finished the solid first half with a 27-yard run to paydirt and a 34-6 halftime advantage for Don Farley's squad.
West Point produced a TD through the air as Jones found Bowers open on a 27-yard score early in the second stanza.
Fairview had a chance to add to its side of the scoreboard after the Aggies got an 89-yard kickoff return by Dumas in the first quarter. But two drives during the second came up empty with Levi Farley intercepting a Black pass in the West Point end zone, then Rodriguez picking off a Black throw with 1:51 to go in the half.
That set up the shortest TD drive for the Warriors, 45 yards, in which they needed just 49 seconds to finish the half with a 34-6 cushion on the 27-yard TD run by Persall.
On the Warriors' first snap of the third after Laney intercepted his second pass of the game, Persall raced around left end for 66 yards, the longest run from scrimmage and the Warriors went up 41-6.
Excitement continued for West Point in scoring during the fourth quarter as Jones hooked up with Sapp for a 19-yard TD. Then with 6:05 to go in the game, freshman Kelton Washington showed a burst of speed, running around the left side for 58 yards and the final TD on opening night.
After missing two extra points early in the game, Rodriguez finished with five consecutive conversions as the Warriors scored the most points in a season opener under coach Farley's command for six years, 55 points and had 373 yards of offense from the second quarter through the end of the game.
West Point had TD drives of 60, 65, 70, 61, 45, 66, 69 and 58 yards to display a balanced attack with Persall scoring three touchdowns, Jones running for one, throwing for two and Martin with Washington, getting a TD on a running play.
Fairview's second half scoring series were 65, 75 and 40 yards. The 40-yard drive came after the Aggies stole the ball from a West Point running back with 3:30 to play in the fourth quarter.
Up next for West Point: Vs. Arab August 31 (WKUL-FM) 7:00 p.m.
Up next for Fairview: Vs. Hanceville August 31 7:00 p.m.
Sportspage photo by Johnny Thornton
West Point Warriors
Coach: Don Farley
Record at West Point: 29-25 (6th season)
2017 record: 6-5 (4-2 in 5A, R 6)
2018: West Point is in 5A, R 7 with Hamilton, Lawrence Co, Russellville, Jasper, Dora, Corner, Hayden.
Key returning personnel: QB Rylan Jones, RB Hunter Persall, WR/K Steven Rodriguez, RB/LB Brayden Martin.
2018 schedule: Aug. 23 - Fairview, Aug. 31 - Arab, Sept. 7 - Hamilton, Sept. 14 - @ Lawrence Co, Sept. 21 - Russellville, Oct. 5 - @ Jasper, Oct. 12 - Dora, Oct, 19 - @ Corner, Oct. 26 - @ Hayden, Nov. 2 - Cordova.
Outlook: West Point is seeking a fifth consecutive winning season under Farley. This has never happened to the Warriors since they started football in 1965 in producing five straight winning campaigns.
West Point has been the most successful of Cullman County teams in the last four years at 25-15 in regular season and 16-9 vs. regional opponents.
West Point has six home games. The Warriors are out to reverse 2017 in which they were 1-4 on the home turf.
The Warriors were 4-1 as a home squad in 2016.
West Point has three straight games at home to begin the new schedule. Regional opener is with Hamilton, a team they defeated last season on the road and lost to in the opener at home in 2016 by score of 14-10.
Lawrence County will be the road opener for the Warriors. This has become a good rivalry in recent time with Lawrence County ahead in the series 19-17. Road team has won the last three years. Lawrence County claimed 28-20 triumph last season, West Point won 28-21 in Moulton the year before.
New teams to the schedule are Arab, Jasper and Cordova.
Farley is 4th all time in wins at West Point, trailing Billy Coleman (48), Michael Simmons (45) and Jerry Edmondson (35).
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton