Battle of Buckhead game starts the season off right


Photo credit Katherine Peterson

Fans, players, cheerleaders, and managers storm the field after the Wildcats win 14-0 against the Lovett Lions.

A huge crowd of neon-colored, excited fans stormed the field, banging on pots, cheering, and hugging as they celebrated the Battle of Buckhead victory against rival Lovett on Aug. 19, 2022. With a final score of 14-0, this was a huge accomplishment for the team as well as a great way to kick off the season.

The game started off slow, with both teams scoreless throughout the first quarter and both offenses struggling to get going. The Wildcats missed an opportunity to punch it in the end zone with around six minutes left in the half after a false start from Lovett’s one-yard line, which led to kicker Carson Wilkie making a short field goal to put Westminster up 3-0 going into the half. 

In the second half, a field goal by Josh Brockman in the third quarter made the score 6-0. On a later offensive drive, a completion to wide receiver Armstrong Jones on third and long set up Westminster’s offense in the red zone, leading to a touchdown from running back Quinton Ezzard from the Wildcat formation. Westminster turned back to the air attack for the two-point conversion, with a catch by tight end Brand Morgan putting the Wildcats up 14-0 late in the fourth quarter. This ultimately iced the game, and the Wildcats came away with a win at Lovett. 

Many things went well for the team, but the defense particularly played an excellent game.

“The defense immobilized the Lovett offense and frequently gave our offense the ball in positive field position,” said captain and quarterback John Collier.

“The defense only gave up two first downs in the whole game, and there were under 50 yards of total offense, which was just amazing. Offensively, we didn’t turn the ball over, so it was a pretty good combination,” said Coach Danny Alexander.

On the other side of the ball, running the RPO forced the Lovett linebackers and strong safeties to make a choice between defending the pass or the run. Good decision-making helped the Cats march down the field.

Fans dressed in their best rave outfits as they cheered on the Cats as they battled the Lovett Lions for the first game of the season. (Photo credit Katherine Peterson)

The defense, led by middle linebacker Sam Reavis, was instrumental to the victory, but Ezzard and Collier also each played an incredible game.

“John managed the game really well,” said Alexander. “There was kind of a moment when we got backed up, and he scrambled and put us back into field goal range and along third down, which was just a really great individual play.”

Throughout the game, the Wildcats struggled to convert in the red zone. During the second quarter, the Cats had the ball on the Lions’ one-yard line but were unable to score a touchdown, having to settle for a field goal. Many opportunities ultimately ended with a field goal attempt, so they’ve been working on improving their red zone offense.

Despite still having areas to improve, the Lovett game definitely sticks out to players and coaches as a proud victory. The players loved seeing the Lovett student section leave the game early and especially enjoyed celebrating afterward.

“Sometimes winning a game is more just a relief because there’s a lot of prep that goes into it. Then, you get to the actual game, and much of what happens is out of your control as a coach,” said Alexander. “Just winning and that kind of sense of relief that washes over when we win a game is probably the best moment.”

As far as the rest of the season, the Cats look to win their region, make the playoffs, and make a deep run in the playoffs. Bigger than that, however, the team wants to operate as a family.

“We want to take care of each other, look after each other, and function as a team,” said Alexander. “We’re a team full of really great community members at Westminster, and we want that to show on the field.”

Edited by Neil Dhingra