CARROLLTON, Ga. – It was a tightly contested Homecoming affair at Ra-Lin Field, but the third-ranked West Georgia Wolves came out victorious in a 27-25 win over West Alabama on Saturday afternoon in Carrollton.
Wearing white at home for the first time in 17 years, the Wolves improved to 8-0 on the season and 5-0 in Gulf South Conference play while UWA drops to 5-3 and 2-3 in league play.
The Wolves’ offensive numbers continued to impress, as Saturday West Georgia had 424 yards of total offense, including 182 on the ground and 242 through the air. The UWG defense allowed 387 yards from UWA, but the Wolves had a 26-19 advantage in first downs. The Wolves dominated time of possession, keeping the ball for nearly 40 minutes of the contest while UWA had just 20:16 of possession.
Willie Candler had a good day in the pocket as the junior signal caller threw for 242 yards for one touchdown. That score came early and was to Malik Henry who finished with a game-high seven catches to lead all receivers with 105 yards and the score.
UWG’s all-time leading rusher, Devontae Jackson, had his second-straight 100-yard rushing game and the fifth of the season as the senior went for 167 yards on 35 carries with a touchdown. It was the 12th time in his career that Jackson has eclipsed 100 yards in a game, one shy of yet another school record.
West Alabama wasted no time in making their presence felt as the Tigers marched down the field in less than three minutes, capping a seven-play, 63-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Derick Underwood.
But Candler and the UWG offense responded nicely with an 11-play, 75-yard drive of their own to tie things up. Candler was a perfect five-for-five on the offense’s opening possession and connected with Malik Henry for the three-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
After the teams traded a few punts, West Georgia found the end zone again as Devontae Jackson took it in from the one-yard line to finish off another 11-play scoring drive for the Wolves.
West Georgia had a chance late in the half to capitalize after Montrell Pardue blocked the UWA punt and set up good field position at the UWA 41-yard line. The Wolves were forced to punt, however, and gave UWA the ball with just over a minute left. UWA drove into West Georgia territory, but could not score, sending the game to halftime with UWG up a touchdown.
Omar Cervantes added three points to the cause with a 42-yard field goal on West Georgia’s first drive of the third quarter.
The Tigers cut it to a one-score game as Harry Satterwhite found Tyriq White on an eight-yard score, but the PAT was no good, keeping the game at 17-13.
On the ensuing UWG possession, the Wolves marched down the field, thanks in large part to a huge pass completion to Malik Henry that got the Wolves a first down on third and 28. The drive stalled, however, and the Wolves called Cervantes’ number once again, and the redshirt freshman delivered, knocking home a 44-yard field goal to make it a seven-point, 20-13, UWG lead.
West Alabama then went 75 yards on nine plays to score on a one-yard touchdown run from Tyler Rogers, but again Jordan Bennett’s extra-point was no good, and UWG preserved a 20-19 lead with 8:47 left in the contest.
It took the Wolves 5:41 to march back down and add another score, going up by eight on Christian Royalston’s two-yard score. It was a 12-play, 65-yard drive that left UWA 3:06 to play and an eight-point deficit.
The Tigers weren’t quite done, as UWA marched 75 yards on six plays in just 1:58 of game time. The 19-yard pass from Satterwhite to Qua Boyd cut it to two, forcing the Tigers to try and tie it up with a two-point conversion. Satterwhite looked to the corner fade to tie it up, but senior Tyler Jack came up with a clutch play to knock the pass away.
West Georgia would recover the onside kick with 1:05 remaining and would be forced to punt with just eight seconds left. After the punt sailed through the end zone, the Tigers had one second and one last play. Satterwhite’s pass was complete, but Chad Price and Travon Simmons brought down the runner to preserve UWG’s eighth consecutive win.
Korie Rogers led the UWG defense with nine tackles while Montrell Pardue chipped in with seven. Barron Burns had six tackles at his linebacker position. Tyler Jack, who came up big with the stop on the two-point try was UWG’s fourth-leading tackler with five, along with Travon Simmons.
West Georgia is back to the road next week, heading to Clinton, Mississippi for a matchup with the Mississippi College Choctaws. Kickoff for that game at Robinson-Hale Stadium is set for 4 p.m.