OAKWOOD — For 2 1/2 quarters, West Hall was doing everything it could to ruin Cherokee Bluff’s perfect season.
A spirited Spartans defense had stymied one of Class 3A’s top offenses and a 10-yard touchdown run by Josiah Henriques tied the game at 7-7 just three plays into the third quarter.
But the Bears finally got untracked, scoring 28 unanswered points the rest of the way and pulled away for a 35-7 win Friday night at Spartans Stadium.
The win kept the Bears (6-0, 2-0 Region 7-3A) tied atop the region standings with North Hall, who beat White County 34-31 in overtime on Friday.
The Bluff offense, set up by a pair of West Hall turnovers, used two big plays in the third quarter -- a 44-yard touchdown pass from Sebastian Irons to Deakon Phillips and a 51-yard touchdown run by Jayquan Smith -- to reclaim the lead.
Irons and Eric Gohman connected on a 54-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter and Irons sealed the game with a 1-yard scoring run with just under three minutes left.
The West Hall defense was the star in the first half holding a Bears offense averaging over 41 points a game to just a 36-yard TD pass from Irons to Gohman in the waning moments of the first half.
But the Bears wore down the Spartans in the second half. Bluff finished with 147 yards rushing, paced by Smith’s 70 yards on 15 carries, and Irons had 251 yards through the air with three TDs. Gohman had 3 catches for 107 yards and two scores.
The Bears defense held West Hall (2-4, 0-2 Region 7-3A) to just 127 total yards. Clayton Jenkins was just 9-of-24 passing for 91 yards and was picked off three times. Henriques was held to just 36 yards rushing. Rodrigo Lopez had 5 catches for 81 yards for the Spartans.