KING — The onslaught was swift and complete.
West Stokes erupted for five touchdowns in the first half to set the tone for a 42-13 victory over Forbush on Friday night. With the win, the Wildcats finished the season as outright champions of the Western Piedmont Athletic 2-A Conference with a perfect 7-0 mark in league play.
In the aftermath of celebrating winning back-to-back conferences titles, Coach Jimmy Upchurch of West Stokes acknowledged that he wasn’t sure how his team would perform in the regular-season finale. A week earlier, the Wildcats barely survived in a tightly-contested 8-6 road win over North Forsyth.
“To be honest about it, I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Upchurch, who was drenched in a Gatorade bath by his players after the game. “We came out and played very well in every aspect of the game against a good Forbush team. It was Senior Night and they rose to the occasion.”
Quarterback Amon Conrad turned in a solid night’s work for the Wildcats. He completed 13 of 15 throws for 154 yards and three touchdown passes. Dutton, taking over for leading rusher Chris Brown, added 57 rushing yards and two scores. Brown sat out Friday’s game with a leg injury, but he’s expected to play in the first round of the Class 2-A playoffs next week.
Initially, it looked as if the Falcons would find a way to hold their own. West Stokes put points on the board on its first offensive series of the game. Conrad connected with Brighton Berthrong on a 26-yard touchdown pass to put the finishing touches on a four-play 54-yard drive.
The Falcons answered quickly on their first play from scrimmage. Quarterback Jacob Lounds hooked up with Travon Martin for a 60-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.
The stalemate was temporary. On the ensuing kickoff, Kelin Parsons weaved his way through heavy traffic for a 78-yard touchdown. Conrad ran for the conversion to put West Stokes up 15-7 with 10:01 left in the first quarter.
The early flurry served as a prelude of the avalanche to come before the end of the half. The Wildcats wasted no time converting three Forbush turnovers into scores during a 10-minute stretch in the second quarter.
Devin Stanley recovered a Forbush fumble and three plays later, Dutton scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 9-yard run.
Parsons set up the next score when he intercepted a Forbush pass and returned it to the Falcons 35-yard line. After a short run by Dutton, Parsons caught a 28-yard TD pass from Conrad on a fade route in the right corner of the end zone.
The final score of the half resulted from a botched kickoff return. The ball bounced off of D’Angelo Humphrey’s shoulder pads and West Stokes recovered. On third-and-seven, Conrad found Palmer Elliott open on post route for a 22-yard touchdown.
West Stokes led 35-7 at intermission.
The emotion from the Wildcats final regular season game was much different than it was for the season opener. West Stokes suffered a shocking 12-8 loss to South Stokes.
“There is so much that’s different about this team now, compared to where we were at the start of this season,” Upchurch said. “To start out like we did and then run the table in our conference, demonstrates how much this team has grown. Now it’s that time of year, and it’s always exciting to play at home in the playoffs.”
West Stokes 42 Forbush 13
Forbush 7 0 0 6 — 13
West Stokes 15 20 7 0 — 42
WS — Brighton Berthrong 26 pass from Amon Conrad (Jerry Adkins kick)
F — Travon Martin 60 pass from Jacob Lounds (Austin Cranfill kick)
WS — Kelin Parsons 78 kickoff return (Conrad run)
WS — Cortlen Dutton 9 run (kick failed)
WS — Parsons 28 pass from Conrad (Adkins kick)
WS — Palmer Elliott 22 pass from Conrad (Adkins kick)
WS — Dutton 3 run (Adkins kick)
F — Brody Cagna 4 run (pass failed)
Records: Forbush 7-4, 4-3 Western Piedmont Athletic 2-A; West Stokes 8-3, 7-0.