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Defense helps Wesson rise to 3-0

FOXWORTH — Defense wins games. The Wesson Cobras proved thisfact Friday night in a hard-fought 26-8 victory over a determinedWest Marion Trojan team. Wesson remained undefeated in threegames.

The Cobras won the toss and elected to start the game on defense.This set the tone for what was going to be a physical and energeticdefensive battle.

The first quarter saw both teams swapping punts for the first fivepossessions. With 2:50 left in the first quarter, the Cobrasstarted what would be their first drive for points Starting closeto their own 35-yard line they put together a 10-play drive topaydirt. Gage Wilson set up the score with a pad-popping 16-yardrun. Senior quarterback Matt Smith hooked up with speedy wide outDJ Coleman on a nice 21-yard touchdown pass to put the Cobras up6-0 at the 10:07 mark in the second quarter.

After the Wesson kickoff, West Marion started the next drive on itsown 20-yard line. Four plays later, Trojan quarterback BrodyKleinpeter was intercepted by Wesson linebacker Payton Cupit whoreturned it for 29 yards. Two plays later, junior running backSteve Jones took the ball in for the score from two yards out. The2-point conversion once again failed and Wesson led 12-0 at the6:34 mark in the second quarter.

The Trojans had a return of 21 yards on the ensuing kickoff totheir own 36-yard line. Two plays later, running back Cleve Lewiswas hit by Wesson defenders and lost the ball. Cupit showed hispresence on the field again by scooping up the fumble and returningit to the West Marion 6-yard line for a lightning 39-yard return.Three plays later, Smith hooked up with Wilson for a 3-yardtouchdown pass. Wesson led 18-0 at the 4:16 mark in the secondquarter. The Trojans got on the scoreboard as Kleinpeter took theball in from one yard out to cap a 6-play drive. Kleinpeter hookedup with wide receiver Jamar Cole for the 2-point conversion to makethe score 18-8 with 00:56 left in the half.

Wesson started the second half on its own 25-yard line after afacemask call on West Marion. Starting a 3-play drive, Smith kepton the option for a 37-yard gain. Smith’s next pass was picked offby Trojan DB Cleve Lewis and was returned for an apparenttouchdown. But a block in the back by West Marion negated the TDand brought the ball back to the Trojan 32.

After four big plays for the Trojans, the Cobra defense struckagain. Lewis was swarmed by the Wesson defenders and fumbled. DJColeman picked it up and raced 86 yards to the end zone for a bigTD. The 2-point conversion was good with Jones running it in. Thescore was 26-8 at the 7:44 mark in the third period.

After the Trojans marched 13 methodical plays, Wesson once againstiffened up on fourth down to stop West Marion on the Cobra 19.Later, Cupit was there to scoop it up a fumble and return it 44yards to the WM 36-yard line with 1:11 left in the game.

Wesson head coach Tommy Clopton praised his team and said, “It wasa tough, hard fought ballgame. I couldn’t be prouder of ourdefense. We had four defensive turnovers and returned one for atouchdown. It was a great defensive ballgame and the offense didenough to win the game.”

Leading for the Wesson offense was Jones with 64 yards on 17rushes. Smith had 8 rushes for 40 yards and was 2 for 5 passingwith 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Wilson added 39 yards on 6rushes

Defensively Payton Cupit led the Cobras with 15 tackles, two fumblerecoveries and one interception. Derrick Lyles had 10 tacklesincluding four for a loss. Barron Miller, Gage Wilson and PaxtonCupit each had 9 tackles.

Kleinpeter led West Marion with 125 yards passing. On the groundthe Trojans were led by Vonnie Harrell with 47 yards and Tre Pacehad 37 yards rushing.