Varsity football team looks to overcome loss against Lovett

The Westminster football team came up short against their rival Lovett Lions on Friday, losing by a final of 20-0.  However, the Cats are focusing on the positives from this game as they look to the end of the season and beyond. The Wildcats, who have been plagued by injuries throughout the year, were finally able to get healthy for the Lovett game following a bye week. However, this being the first game back for multiple stars, they just didn’t seem to be able to find their rhythm on Friday night.  Senior Jake Forte made his first start at quarterback since injuring his foot in the third game of the season against Laney. In the wake of Forte’s injury, sophomore Rankin Woley did a fantastic job filling in at quarterback for the Wildcats during the next five games, leading the Cats to three wins and only two losses in the span.  But Romberg called this a “kind of a catch-22.”  Woley, a dominant outside linebacker, had to be removed from defense to take over quarterback duties. With the return of Forte, Woley was able to move back to linebacker.

“Rankin played great for us, and really helped keep our season afloat,” said Forte. “It was great to get back out there, but obviously we were looking for a win.”

There were a few plays that really changed the tide on Friday.

“We gave up a few long passes that set Lovett up for some scores,“ said senior safety and wide receiver Jake Johnson, “and we had some costly penalties on offense that killed some drives. We had our opportunities on offense but we just didn’t capitalize.”

Although the Cats went down in defeat, the game did have some positive points that they are looking to build on. As it had been for the majority of games this season, the defense was one of these bright spots, holding a dynamic and explosive Lion offense to just 20 points. Aside from a few big plays, the defense played lights out, limiting the highly recruited Lovett standout, runningback Grant Haley. Freshman running back Isaiah Malcome had another strong game, leading the offense in all-purpose yards yet again. After starting tailback McClain Bradley went out with a concussion, Malcome was forced to step up, and he has certainly assumed the role of lead running back. Malcome has not only shown that he can compete at the varsity level but that he will be a force to reckon with for the remainder of his high school career.

The Cats will now shift their focus to their next game against Hapeville Charter, a game that they hope they can use to regain their tempo, as they look to make a statement in the postseason.

“Lovett’s a great team, potentially the top team in the region,” said Johnson, “so this game has prepared us for the kind of talent we’ll see later in November.”

The Cats have all the talent that a team needs to make a run in the playoffs, and for this reason, the team has high expectations for themselves in the postseason.

“We’ve got playmakers everywhere on the field,” said senior captain Cameron Seward. “We know what we’re capable of doing as a team, it will just come down to executing during the games.”