HIGHLAND | It was a tale of two halves Friday night.
Or in West Side’s case, two different “tails” for the Cougars against Highland.
West Side, held to only 12 points in the first half, erupted for over 300 yards of total offense when it mattered most, outscoring the host Trojans 34-6 in the second half, and advancing to the Class 4A Sectional 17 final against E.C. Central in a 46-27 victory.
West Side avenged last season’s 41-34 loss to the Trojans on the same field in the same sectional semifinal.
“We talked about revenge all week,” said West Side quarterback Ramone Adkins, who threw for four touchdowns in the second half and passed for 197 yards. “We did have our heads hanging a little bit at halftime, but we came out ready to play and played lights-out.
“We knew we had to put the ball in the air to make things happen.”
Besides Atkins, West Side (7-4) got 165 yards and a touchdown from JonVea’ Johnson. The Cougars, who came in averaging 54 points a game, rallied to almost reach that number in 24 minutes of play.
“Like I always say, ‘Adversity is our middle name,’” West Side coach Jason Johnson said. “We know adversity well. I wish things could be normal, but we always seem to do it the hard way.”
Highland (5-6) got a monster game from senior Ian Hardy, who rushed for a game-high 221 yards on 32 carries with three TDs. The Trojans had 210 yards of total offense at the break, but fumbled five times (losing four) and seemed to run out of gas against the never-say-die Cougars.
“I didn’t have to say anything to the players,” Johnson said. “My (assistant) coaches are the yellers; I’m the cool guy. They’re the ones who get nasty. They got on the kids, but they came out and responded.”
Eight different players scored for the Cougars, who had 11 first downs in the second half.