To start a tough four-game schedule, the 24th ranked Wolves invited the 22nd ranked team, West Alabama, to Carrollton for a conference match-up filled with story lines. The Wolves new head coach Will Hall would face his old team in what was described by him as, “A tough experience, I pour my heart into all of my players no matter the school or circumstances”. On a sunny but windy day at University Stadium, the Wolves and Tigers would battle for position in the Gulf South Conference race. While the Wolves and surrounding community have believed in their team coming into the year with something to prove, the Tigers of West Alabama are the defending Gulf South Conference champs. With one team proving it belongs, and the other proving it hasn’t lost a step; fans were in for a great game.
West Alabama came out in the first half with new wrinkles that the Wolves were not prepared for, as told by head coach Will Hall. Tigers would take an early 10-7 lead on the road. Wolves would eventually settle down, regain their composure, and take a 13-10 lead after a missed extra point on the Wolves part. Coming out of the half with that 13-10 lead remaining the same, the Wolves would run the clock down on offense by holding the ball for more than 8 minutes to open the third quarter; Wolves would kick a field goal to increase their lead to 16-10. Wolves were able to pitch a shutout against the Tigers offense in third quarter, giving Dallas Dickey and the West Georgia offense one more crack at the Tigers before the fourth quarter began; and boy would they capitalize. Dallas Dickey was already leading his team in rushing yards before he broke off a 62 yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 23-10 in Wolves favor. That run would also give Dickey his career high in rushing yards with 151 on the ground, “Have a day Dallas, have a day!” were the words of long time radio voice for the Wolves, Mitch Gray. Coach Will Hall spoke about Dallas Dickey during the post-game press conference, stating, “when your quarterback is one of your toughest players, you have a chance to have a really good football team”.
With the game seeming to be on ice midway through the fourth and the Wolves looking to run the clock out, West Alabama answered with their second turnover of the game, a 1 yard interception return for a touchdown. The score would now be 23-17 West Georgia, but now the game was far from being over. The Wolves rallied up the strength, and continued to pound the ball. Eventually, with a seal here and a seal there, running back Brandon Lucas was able to break free for a 46 yard scamper. That run would lead to a 36 yard field goal by Hunter Heck, Wolves now lead 26-17 with only 4:30 left in the fourth quarter.
The first turnover of the game for the West Georgia defense couldn’t have come at a better time, and with only a couple of minutes left, this allowed the University of West Georgia football team to line up in the victory formation and cerebrate early. The 24th ranked Wolves would finish with a final score of 26-17 over 22 West Alabama. A great game it was, the West Georgia coaches and players gave nothing but respect to the coaching, talent, and efforts of the West Alabama team. The Wolves knew they would have to earn this victory, and that they did.
With a big time rivalry game next week at Valdosta State, coach Will Hall and his players will celebrate this win today but keep focus on the task ahead. They have shown the entire Gulf South Conference that they are serious, and are willing to earn every victory. The final take away for coach Hall and his team, as told by him in the post-game press conference, “Many things went wrong, clean it up.” Never satisfied with just a win, the Wolves are still striving to get better each and every day in their preparation moving forward.
Go West! Go Wolves!