By Austin Bishop
The Winston County Journal
The Nanih Waiya football team may want to consider adopting Bachman Turner Overdrive’s 1970s rock classic “Takin’ Care of Business” as their theme song for the rest of the season.
That’s certainly what the Warriors did in the second half of Friday night’s key 20-8 Region 3-1A win over homestanding West Lowndes. Nanih Waiya trailed 8-6 at the intermission, but scored on the first possession of the third quarter and early in the fourth to stretch out its lead and secure the important win.
The victory puts Nanih Waiya at 3-3 overall and leaves the Warriors as one of four teams with just one league loss. NW pays a visit to Sebastopol, another one-loss team, on Friday at 7 p.m. Noxapater is the only team still undefeated in Region 3-1A play.
“We challenged our kids to go out in the second half on the first possession and pound the ball down their throats and that’s what we did,” Nanih Waiya head coach Tate Hanna said. ‘We moved the ball up and down the field all night but we had two turnovers that hurt us in the first half.”
One of those turnovers cut a Nanih Waiya drive short inside the 20-yard line, while the other resulted in a 47-yard fumble return for a touchdown that gave West Lowndes an 8-6 lead at the half.
Nanih Waiya scored first in the game when Jamarlo Smith scored on a 5-yard run. Smith finished the night with 154 rushing yards on 24 carries to lead the Warriors.
Smith put the winners up for good in the third quarter when he closed out NW’s first possession of the half with an 11-yard touchdown run. He then ran in the two-point conversion to put the winners up 14-8.
The Warriors began another good drive in the third quarter that culminated early in the fourth when quarterback Stewart Ball scored on a 1-yard run.
Dylan Dent rushed for 46 yards on 14 attempts for NW, while Ball had seven carries for 28 yards and hit on 1-of-4 passes for nine yards. Chesten Jones had Nanih Waiya’s lone pass reception.
Marcellous Green led NW defensively with nine tackles and two sacks, while Aaron Ellinburg recorded six stops and Deyon Sanders and Smith had five tackles each. Smith recorded a pair of sacks, while Garrett Miles recovered two fumbles for the Warriors.
Up next is a tough Sebastopol team that the Warriors barely defeated 31-28 last year.
“They probably feel like they owe us one from last year,” Hanna said. “They have a good football team and have played some teams really close. This game is probably for the playoffs. We really need to win this one.”
Next up for the Warriors is Noxapater, which pays a visit on Oct. 24. “We are telling our kids they cannot look past Sebastopol to Noxapater. Right now this (Sebastopol) game is the most important one we will play all year.”