By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
WEST POINT —
Don Farley and Chris Moss got exactly what they expected out of the first half of Thursday’s jamboree between Cullman County rivals West Point and Good Hope — 24 minutes of big plays, hard hits, yellow flags and, ultimately, wasted opportunities.
By the time the teams headed to the locker room, however, it was Farley and the Warriors who were able to take advantage of at least one scoring chance, running wild through the Raider defense for a 7-0 advantage.
Sophomore Kobe Smith was the go-to guy in West Point’s ground attack with 11 carries for 131 yards, including a long of 53. Quarterback Bryant Farley was pretty quick on his feet as well, rushing eight times for 43 yards. The third-year signal-caller scored on a 63-yard scamper late in the first quarter, only to have it called back because of a chop block.
The penalty didn’t end up mattering nearly five minutes into the following frame, when the Warriors finished the drive in the end zone with a 1-yard run from Smith.
“Kobe was doing a great job,” coach Farley said after his first competitive half as West Point’s head man. “And when our offensive line plays and gets the push, they can make things happen in our running game.”
Levi Laney added 13 yards on the ground, and Tristan Dubberly (12 yards) and Will Wrenn (seven yards) each caught a pass from the younger Farley.
Sebastian Fendley was a sight for sore eyes on the Good Hope sideline and elusive as ever in his first action under the lights and behind center since Week 3 of the 2012 season.
The shifty signal-caller cracked double-digits on four runs and closed out the half with 10 carries for 66 yards. He was 5 of 14 through the air for 56 yards, completing three of those passes to Austin Crumbley (21 yards) and one apiece to Justin Turner (27 yards) and Chris Raper (eight yards).
Junior Jared McClure rushed twice for nine yards.
West Point didn’t always make it easy on Fendley, sacking the speedster once, forcing and recovering a fumble to end the Raiders’ first possession deep in Warrior territory and coming close on a couple of interceptions that very well could’ve been caught.
“We got a guy to him every time, just couldn’t get him down,” coach Farley said.
Ryder Jones, who made multiple tackles behind or near the line of scrimmage, was responsible for the sack, while Austin Young escaped from the bottom of the pile with the fumble. Trent Campbell and others amped up their Maroon and White teammates with a few bone-crushing hits.
Jones and the West Point D were matched in intensity and production by Good Hope senior linebacker Alex Cofer, who piled on tackle after tackle throughout the half.
“The kids are playing hard,” said Moss, who’s entering his ninth-year as the Raiders’ head coach. “It’s just one of them things, it’s early jitters, everybody is trying to get them bugs out. The thing about it is we’ve got a place to start here. We’ve got to get better.”
Farley and Moss both planned to send out their varsity units for one more quarter and then let their junior varsity squads close out the contest.
Good Hope will open the season next Thursday at home against Holly Pond, while West Point will get going on the road next Friday versus Brewer.
% The Times’ sports writer Jake Winfrey contributed to this report.