Saturday February 6th, 2016 3:38PM

White County muscles past West Hall

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
OAKWOOD -- White County coach Gregg Segraves said midweek that his team hadn't played as physically as it needed to in last week's loss to Gainesville.

The Warriors obviously took Segraves' message to heart.

White County muscled up from the opening kickoff on Friday at West Hall, running seemingly at will en route to a 45-18 victory in Oakwood.

"We beat up on each other all week; our emphasis was to be physical tonight," Segraves said.

The Warriors (2-1) signaled their intentions on the first possession of the game, marching 91 yards in 13 plays -- 12 on the ground -- for their first touchdown of the night and never looked back as it built a 38-0 advantage in the first half.

"We felt we could run the ball here, and we wanted to establish that early," Segraves said. "We scored on ever possession in the first half. That's pretty efficient."

Running backs Ashely Lowery and Brandon Ward combined with quarterback Cole Segraves to gash the Spartans defense for 252 yards rushing, including a game-high 118 for Lowery, who also finished with three scores.

"He's got the ability," Segraves said of Lowery. "He ran hard, and I thought our offensive line played extremely well tonight. We moved some guys around, and they responded."

Segraves also contributed a 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, while Ryan Kennedy kept the momentum firmly in White County's hands before halftime, notching a touchdown for the Warriors defense. Kennedy picked off a pass and raced 30 yards for a score with 5:03 left before the half. Brandon Ward then scored in more conventional form, rumbling into the end zone from three yards for a 38-0 advantage.

"We felt we had a little bit of a speed advantage, and I think that showed in the first half," Segraves said.

West Hall's offense, meanwhile, struggled against an imposing White County defensive front that stuffed the Spartans run game and allowed quarterback Shunquez Stephens precious little time on pass plays.

The Spartans (2-1) finished with 193 total yards but had no first downs in the first half and managed minus-three yards total until Stephens finally found time to scan the field in the second quarter. The senior quarterback connected with William Stroup for a 53-yard scoring pass over the middle with :02 left before the interval. But the strike could only dent White County's lead to 38-6 after a botched point after attempt.

West Hall refused to give in, however, and came out firing in the second half -- Stephens scrambling before finding Dre Pou for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 7:28 left in the third quarter. A two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving West Hall down 38-12.

But Lowery wasn't about to let the Warriors lose their grip on the contest. The Kentucky-bound senior had a 33-yard touchdown catch and run negated by a holding penalty but responded with a 19-yard scoring run just three plays later to give White County a 45-12 advantage.

Stephens finished 8 of 13 passing for 150 yards, while Pou paced West Hall's rushing attack with 37 yards rushing.

The Spartans will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season next week at Stephens County.

White County, meanwhile, will look to keep its momentum going next week against Oconee County.

WHITE CO...........10...........28........7...........0 -- 45
WEST HALL...........0...........6...........6...........6 -- 18

First quarter
WC --Lowery 6 run (Rey kick) 6:50, 7-0
WC --Rey 38 field goal, :43, 10-0

Second quarter
WC -- Cole Segraves 17 run (Rey kick), 10:22, 17-0
WC -- Lowery 7 run (Rey kick), 5:54, 24-0
WC -- Kennedy 30 interception return (Rey kick), 5:03, 31-0
WC -- Ward 3 run (Rey kick), 1:05, 38-0
WH -- Stroup 53 pass from Stephens (PAT failed), :02, 38-6

Third quarter
WH -- Pou 41 pass from Stephens (2-point failed), 7:28, 38-12
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