Inspiring comeback defines 10-0 Titans

Inspiring comeback defines 10-0 Titans
November 12
00:00 2015

In above photo: Kenyar McPhatter of West Forsyth had two touchdown runs in the decisive fourth quarter. (Photo by Craig T. Greenlee)

With just under nine minutes left to play in the season finale, the road team was in dire straits.

West Forsyth was down by 11 points to once-beaten North Davidson. Its plans to finish the season undefeated was in serious jeopardy. It seemed inevitable that the Black Knights would spoil the party and secure first place in the Central Piedmont Conference.

The Titans refused to panic. Instead, they ignored all logic and scored twice over the final six minutes to deliver a 34-31 heart-thumping comeback win in JV football. Thanks to the late flurry, West Forsyth kept its appointment with perfection and ended the season at 10-0.    

“It was a championship game played by two very good teams,” said coach Jared Eure of West Forsyth. “They could have just as easily beat us, just like we beat them. A lot of people thought it was over, but our kids fought to the end.”

The situation looked bleak for visitors early in the fourth quarter. North Davidson, up by four points, got a scintillating 70-yard touchdown run from Zi Russell to give his team a commanding 31-20 lead. From that point, the Titans defense stiffened and the offense took full advantage.

Kenyar McPhatter found an opening around left end and scored from 13 yards out. Wide receiver Jamon Brown threw a pass on a reverse to Kallai Buyna for the two-point PAT to close the gap to 31-28 with 4:31 left to play. Another defensive stand allowed West Forsyth to get the ball back with 3:09 showing on the game clock.

“Our defense stepped up and got three, 3-and-outs in a row,” said Eure. “The offense got the ball back and we have the weapons to put the ball in the end zone. That’s how we won. You play this game until there are two zeros (showing) on that clock. No matter what happens, win or lose, give it all you’ve got and play as hard as you can. If you do that, then I can deal with the outcome.”

A mix of McPhatter runs and passes from Drew Latham to Brown set the stage for the game-winning 63-yard drive. McPhatter put his team on top for good with a 21-yard touchdown run with 1:50 remaining.

North Davidson (7-2) still had one last opportunity to tie the game or win it at the end. The Black Knights drove 50 yards to the Titans 35-yard line with 33 seconds left. On third down, quarterback Josh Sicignano fired a pass  over the middle, which was intercepted by Bishop Davis, who was tackled after a 30-yard return as the final gun sounded.

West Forsyth came perilously close to gift-wrapping this game. The Titans lost two fumbles on punt returns inside their own 15-yard line. The Black Knights scored 10 points of those turnovers to build a 24-20 working margin.

   After recovering the first fumble, North Davidson  edged ahead 21-20 on Sicignano’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Jacob LaFlesh and Jacob Yonts’ conversion kick. On the next fumbled punt by the Titans, North Davidson took over in the red zone, but the Titans defense locked in and the Black Knights were forced to settle for Yonts’ 21-yard field goal with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter.

“What I’ll remember most is being down 31-20 and seeing the faces on the sidelines,” said Eure. “They were just determined and they didn’t hang their heads. The kids fought for each other. The coaches made the calls, but it was the kids who executed out there on the field.”

The first half featured two ties and three lead changes. Latham had a hand in all of the Titans opening-half scoring with three touchdown passes. West Forsyth got on the board first on Latham’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Davis Latham. North Davidson answered on Russell’s 4-yard run to tie the game.

Buyna caught a short pass from Latham and turned it into a 63-yard touchdown reception for West Forsyth. The Black Knights tied the game again when Sicignano connected with Themus Fulks on a 17-yard post pattern for a touchdown.

The Titans pulled ahead right before the end of the half. Drew Latham hooked up again with Davis Latham for a score on a 19-yard fade route in the left corner of the end zone. West Forsyth led 20-14 at the half.


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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