GWA-Westfield set for semifinal rematch

It will be déjà vu for the George Walton Academy football team this Friday.

The Bulldogs will meet the same opponent in the same location in the same round when they travel to Perry to meet the Westfield Hornets, the number one team from Region 3-AAA, at 8 p.m.

GWA, who enters the game as the only undefeated GISA AAA team at 12-0, traveled to Westfield last November and fell 22-20. This year, the Bulldogs have payback on their minds.

"Westfield is the type of team that gives you a lot to think about and a lot to prepare for," said George Walton Academy head coach Don Williams, whose team is the No. 1 seed from Region 1-AAA. "They have good speed, and they return their entire offensive backfield from last year. They run the Wing-T offense and it hurt us last year with their bootleg plays. They have hurt several teams with that this season. We'll have to be ready for it."

Williams said he also expects the Hornets to be strong defensively. The GWA coach said Westfield was able to contain the Bulldogs running attack last season.

"They have steadily improved all season," Williams said. "They are better than their record indicates."

The Hornets enter the contest with an 8-4 mark and are fresh off a 35-14 quarterfinal win against Mt. De Sales last week.

The win by Westfield avenged a regular season loss to the Cavaliers. Coach Ronnie Jones' Hornets tied for the 3-AAA region title with Deerfield-Windsor and Southland and it took a mini-playoff to decide the playoff seedings.

Deerfield-Windsor is also still alive in the playoffs and will travel to Tattnall Square Friday for the other semifinal contest.

Jones said he is impressed with how well GWA has played this fall.

"They basically have their entire team back from a year ago," Jones said. "They have so much talent so you can't focus on one player."

Jones said his team played well in its rematch against Mt. De Sales and would certainly have to play well this Friday to have a chance of advancing back to the state championship contest.

"We will have to make George Walton move the football the entire field," Jones said. "We can't give up big plays. Hopefully, we can create some turnovers. Their offensive line has the size advantage so we will have to rely on our quickness. In our game last week, we didn't have turnovers or penalties and that helped us keep our offensive drives going. One of our defensive plans is to keep the football away from their offense."

The predetermined brackets allowed Westfield to host this game despite having a lesser overall record than GWA. Jones said it would be an advantage for his team.

"You always like to be at home and in your familiar surroundings," the Westfield coach said. "Of course, against this George Walton team it might not really matter. We know we will have to play a flawless game. Anything can happen though. Last year everyone thought Tattnall Square was unbeatable and they lost in the playoffs (to George Walton)."

Williams, as he has done all season, is not overlooking Westfield.

"We have to be ready to play our best again," Williams said. "It is going to be a tough game just like it was when we went down there last year. We know anything can happen at this point."

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