Despite some early struggles with tackling and third-down stops, it was West Georgia’s goal-line defense that earned the team a 21-19 home opener victory over the Limestone University Saints on Thursday, Aug. 31.
“We played very well on the goal line, and that was the difference in the game,” head football coach David Dean said after the win. “We did not tackle well, but of course, their running back was very good.”
Limestone running back Tre Stewart had 213 all-purpose yards in the game and seemed to be open in the flat for a first down all game long.
“He was exactly what we thought he’d be and hard to bring down, but I’m proud of our defense because they made the stops when they had to,” Dean said.
Holding onto a one-point, 7-6 lead in the third quarter, the Wolves defense stood tall on two consecutive drives inside their own five-yard line, first as senior safety, Deontae Overstreet had a third-down pass breakup that resulted in a missed field goal, and second as linebacker, Amos Dahn had two consecutive stops to force a turnover on downs.
Two drives that were a few yards away from 14 Limestone points resulted in none.
The Wolves’ defensive success translated to the other side of the ball. Dahn’s goal-line stop resulted in a 99-yard, 11-play scoring drive for the Wolves offense, capped by Rajaez Mosely’s second rushing touchdown of the night.
All three of West Georgia’s touchdowns came on the ground, with Mosely ending the night with 77 yards and two touchdowns and Wesley Kennedy III rushing for 169 yards and one score.
The Wolves were up 14-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, but it was not long before the defense had to make another goal-line stand, this time on a two-point conversion. The Wolves sank their teeth into the Limestone offensive front and stopped the run, sustaining the UWG lead at 14-12 with just over six minutes left in the game.
With this two-point cushion, Kennedy put the game away on offense, spinning off a tackle for an 82-yard touchdown run to put West Georgia up by two scores, 21-12.
Limestone constructed one final scoring drive to cut the Wolves’ lead back down to 21-19, but Kennedy rushed for one more first down to run out the remainder of the clock.
Looking back to the first quarter, the Wolves’ defense kept them in the game from the start. After their opening possession stalled at the 50-yard line, a sack by Keondre Williams gave the Wolves another shot.
That was when sophomore quarterback Ben Whitlock finally got in rhythm, connecting with receiver LaPerion Perry on two sizable throws to put the Wolves in Saints territory. Mosley took it the remaining distance, ending with a six-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.
Although the game got close, the Wolves did not trail after that point.
This past weekend, the Wolves went on a long road trip to Texas A&M in Kingsville, Tex. where they fell 20-17, cutting their record to 1-1 on the season.
The Wolves’ next game will be at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss. for an 8 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 16th.
The next home game for West Georgia will be Saturday, Oct. 7th at 6 p.m. against the West Alabama Tigers.