CARROLLTON, Ga. - The West Georgia Wolves picked up their second-straight Gulf South Conference victory on Saturday evening in Tigerville, SC, as the Wolves racked up more than 500 yards of total offense en route to a 42-21 victory over the North Greenville Crusaders.
Senior quarterback Willie Candler had a phenomenal night, going 25-for-41 for 327 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wolves to a 4-2 overall record and a 2-1 mark in Gulf South Conference play. The UWG defense was solid as well in the contest, allowing just 217 total yards on the night.
The first quarter belonged to the West Georgia Wolves, as quarterback Willie Candler and the Wolves racked up 176 yards of total offense in the opening quarter. The Wolves scored two touchdowns in the period, and the scores were set up by big plays in the passing game. In both of the touchdown drives for UWG in the first quarter, Candler completed at least one big pass.
On the second drive, the first big play came from Candler to Quan Harrison, as the UWG quarterback found Harrison down the left sideline for 44 yards to the Crusader six yard line. Two plays later, Chauncey Williams pounded the ball in for the first score of the game and a 7-0 lead. On the next drive, Candler found John Hurst for a 26-yard gain to get into scoring range, then reconnected with Hurst for a 21-yard score and a 14-0 lead. That touchdown strike was the 65th in Candler's career, setting a new school record for career touchdown passes.
The third score of the game for West Georgia came on an eight-play, 76-yard march that ended with a 34-yard connection from Candler to Harrison and a 21-0 lead. The final score of the first half for the Wolves came off of a forced turnover. Auzoyah Alufohai sacked North Greenville quarterback Bryce Fields and forced a fumble, with was recovered by Chris Blackston at the North Greenville 47. The Crusaders picked up their first score with one second left in the first half, scoring off of a blocked punt that gave NGU a short field.
As the teams went into the locker room at the break, West Georgia led 28-7. The Wolves outgained the Crusaders 310-132, including 210 yards through the air. Candler had three touchdown passes, and Chauncey Williams had six carries for 42 yards and a score.
North Greenville took very little time in feeding off of that momentum on the opening drive of the second half, as Dre' Williams took the opening kick of the period to midfield, then the Crusaders took six plays to go 48 yards and Fields connected with Kyle Belack for a 14-yard score to cut the UWG lead to 28-14 with 12:06 left in the third quarter. The Wolves were driving as the quarter ended, and Candler put West Georgia up 35-14 on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Lester with just over 12 minutes left in the game.
The next six minutes saw neither team move the ball, except for a blocked punt from North Greenville that was returned for a score with just over nine minutes left in the game, cutting the UWG lead to 35-21. Candler and the offense never hesitated, going on a 10-play, 75-yard march that covered 5:35. The senior quarterback finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to give the Wolves a 42-21 lead with 6:19 left in the game.