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Rivalry Showdown!

The Knights triumph over the Trojans walking away with a 35-14 win
Haley Graham
(From left to right: Caleb Collins, Jett Calvert, Cade Germany, Kayden People’s) The captains of both teams face each other as they walk out for coin toss.


Last Friday night, the victorious West Lauderdale Knights (7-1, 2-0) faced off against one of their many rivals, the Northeast Lauderdale Trojans (4-4, 1-2). Through a well-fought battle, West Lauderdale ended the night with a victory of 35-14.  The Knights had an active defense that night, having tackles from many of the boys including Tim McDonald (#33), Jake Rodgers (#12), Jett Calvert (#24), and Jack Davidson (#11).


Leading scorers were Caleb Collins (#4) with 14 total points; Altonio Ratcliff (#3), 8 points; and Cooper Luke (#1), 13 points. Top passing yards was Kayden Peoples (#7) with a total of 100 yards. Top rushing yards were Collins (#4) with 156 total rushing yards; Peoples (#7), 57 yards; Luke (#1), 11 yards. 


The Trojans kick off the game with the Knights’ own Collins (#4) returning the ball to the Northeast 42-yard line giving West their first, 1st down of the night. Having just started the game with 11:53 left in the first quarter alone, Cooper Luke (#1) runs the ball in for a Touchdown leaving fans shell-shocked at this unexpected turn of events. Although the P.A.T (point after touchdown) was unsuccessful, the Knights still led the game 6-0.


West Lauderdale then goes for the kickoff to Northeast but ends up kicking it into the endzone leading the Trojans to pick up the ball at their 20-yard line. After multiple attempts at trying to get past West’s defense, Northeast ends up turning over the ball giving West a first down at their 23-yard line. Peoples (#7) throws a pass that is ultimately incomplete due to a pass interference penalty from Northeast, giving West a 1st down and pushing them across midfield. As the Knights crept through the field moving yards at a time, K.P. saw an opportunity he just could not pass up… seconds later, Collins (#4) runs the ball in for a touchdown. Then, they go for a risky 2-point conversion which is successful putting them further in the lead with 14-0 before ending the first quarter. 


Northeast starts the second quarter with the ball, but they do not hold onto it for long. Having only been in the second frame for a minute, Luke (#1) intercepted the ball running it down to the Trojans 33 yard line before getting tackled. After a fumble and recovery by Collins (#4), the Knights go in for yet another Touchdown with an attempt at a P.A.T. which is good!! The Knights now lead 21-0 with 10:01 left before the end of the half. 


Luke (#1) kicks the ball with the Trojans returning it to their 20-yard line giving them a first down. Jett Calvert (#24) and Cooper Luke (#1) then join forces to tackle the Trojans player who had the ball preventing them from getting yet another first down. This continued for a few plays with the Knights stopping the Trojans from progressing down the field leading the ball to be turned over at the Trojans’ 42-yard line. Surprisingly, the Knights are unable to advance past the Trojans causing the ball once again to be turned over. Northeast takes over at their 20-yard line and the ball gets turned over after they fail to get past West for a first down. The Trojans punt the ball downfield when they get a fourth down leading West to pick the ball up at their 41-yard line. Collins (#4), in possession of the ball, runs up the middle but is eventually dragged down from behind by the Trojans’ Demetrius Matthews (#5) but not without giving the Knights a first down. Ratcliff (#3) breaks left with the ball into the endzone giving West their fourth Touchdown of the night putting them in the lead by a grand 27 points. 


After the Trojans return to their 10-yard line, there is a flag on the play, a penalty for holding. They then go in for failed first-down attempts.  At this point, the Student Section cannot sit down, cheering on the West boys as they finish off the half with the ball in their possession again after it is turned over. 


With the Knights kicking off the second half, the Trojans returned the ball to their 16-yard line as Jett Calvert and Jake Rodgers collectively went in for the tackle. The Trojans BJ Portis (#13) cuts through the center giving them a first down before Davidson (#11) goes in for the tackle. After a brutal tackle by McDonald (#33), Northeast is unable to get another first down leading the ball to be turned over to West on their 32-yard line. West starts slacking as they are unable to get past the enemy’s defenses causing the ball to once again be turned over, but this time to the Trojans. This ended up costing West because Northeast was able to get through the boys into the endzone giving them a Touchdown with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. They attempt a P.A.T. which is at long last good, giving them their first 7 points of the game. 


Chase Gathings (#5) catches the kick returning it to the Knights’ 32-yard line with the Trojans going in for the tackle, having only 49.6 seconds left in the quarter. Collins (#4) runs straight into the Trojans secondary giving West another first down at their 45-yard line. After he once again gets the ball, Collins tries to cut the corner but is pushed out of bounds. Everyone’s heart pounds as West fumbles the ball with seconds left. Players all jump on the ball trying to recover it for their team, but Hunter Moore (#27) is the one who is successful at recovering it, giving West possession of the ball as the buzzer beeps ending the quarter. 


As the end of the game quickly approaches, West starts off the last quarter with the ball. Caleb Collins gets the ball through a handoff from Kayden Peoples running it to the Trojans’ 31-yard line for a first down. Peoples then runs up the middle stopping just shy of the Trojans’ 12-yard line before going down. Then with a completed pass by Peoples to Luke (#1), the Knights get another touchdown with Collins (#4)  carrying the ball into the endzone for a 2-point conversion. West Lauderdale nudged farther in the lead 35-7. 


Carson Smith (#14) takes the Trojan down from the back, tearing his chances at getting a first down, leading the Knights to get the ball with a turnover having 6:20 left of the whole game. Having barely advanced past the 24-yard line, the ball is ripped from West’s hands as the Trojans run it in for a touchdown followed by a successful P.A.T. putting them behind by only 21 points. This leaves fans sweating out the possible outcome of the game. Everyone is so nervous as the bands of both schools begin competing for what sounds like who can play their song loudest. This eases no one’s nerves as the clock ticks down with both teams fighting for possession of the ball. As the clock hits 17 seconds, the Knights realize they won, leading fans to celebrate all throughout the stands. 

After the game, West Lauderdale Knights’ arguably most school-spirited player, Hunter Moore (#27), was asked what he believed was the greatest challenge the Knights faced on the field. “I guess when they started to come back and came out swinging in the second half, I mean it’s kinda hard once you get all that intensity in the first half all that playing time and then its cut off from you its kinda hard that you gotta swing back in,” was his response. Moore then went on about how the boys put up a fight in the game, proving they deserved their win.  West Lauderdale Head Coach, Brock Clay shows his excitement for his boys stating “Anytime you go 2 and 0 in district is always a plus. We had came out really strong, did everything really well right off the bat.” 

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About the Contributors
Selena Williams
Selena Williams, Reporter
Reporter + Photographer
Haley Graham
Haley Graham, Editor
- class of 2025 (junior) - chief sports editor, editorials team I’m excited to be able to bring the paper back to the school!
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