The Wolves’ offense and defense struggled at times but made enough big plays to deliver a 21-19 win over the visiting Limestone Saints at Ra-Lin Field Saturday evening under the lights in Carrollton, GA.

Wolves head coach David Dean acknowledged the jitters and first-game mistakes that often plague teams in season openers but praised his squad for their resilience. “We shot ourselves in the foot a good bit,” said Dean. “We didn’t tackle well on defensively, missed some blocks up-front, but we were able like I told them in the locker room when we had to make a play we did it.”

The Wolves’ defense came up big shutting down the gritty Saints offense with back-to-back goal-line stands. Defensive back Deontae Overstreet broke up a pass intended for Herman McCray to set up a 20-yard field goal attempt from Daniel Deneen, Jr. Deneen had missed a point-after-try earlier in the game. The freshman from Myrtle Beach made it two in a row pushing the kick wide right of the goal post.

Dustin Noller’s 37-yard pass to Mikey Jones set up the offense for another bite at the apple on the Saints’ next drive. Amos Dahn was not having any of it. The junior linebacker from Archer High School in Lawrenceville stopped Limestone running back Tre Stewart for a two-yard loss and then Noller at the 1 to preserve the Wolves’ slim 7-6 lead.

Coach Dean praised his defense, saying, “We played very, very well on the goal line, and that was the difference in the game.”

Offensively, West Georgia relied heavily on their ground game. All three of the Wolves’ touchdowns resulted from rushing plays including an 82-yard touchdown by Wesley Kennedy on first and 18 to seal the win.

“We scored a little bit quicker than I wanted to because we gave them the ball back,” said Dean. The tenured coach was planning to use the running game to eat up more of the game clock before scoring had Kennedy not scored.

His reason for not wanting to give Limestone the ball back with too much time was valid.

Wolves running back Rajaez Mosley darts in for a 6-yard touchdown. (Jason McDonald/JM Photography for CORE360 Sports)

With less than 4 minutes remaining, the Saints went to their two-minute drill. Cal Endicott orchestrated a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Endicott went 4-for-6 including a 14-yard strike to Jelani Baker to move Limestone within a field goal of a comeback.

“Despite some tackling issues, the Wolves managed to make pivotal stops when necessary.

While Rajaez Mosley toted the rock, quarterback Ben Whitlock and wideout Terrill Cole had their way with the Saints secondary. The senior from Birmingham hit’em up for 62 of the drive’s 99 yards on three receptions. Mosley capped the drive with his second touchdown of the game punching it in from 3 yards out to give West Georgia a little breathing room.

Limestone managed to close the gap to 14-12 in the fourth quarter with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Noller to Jelani Baker. Looking to tie the game up, Limestone went for the two-point conversion. And once again, the Wolves’ defense came up big stopping Stewart at the point of attack.

Ahead by two, 1:25 remaining, and the ball in their hands, West Georgia turned to the ground game. There was no question that Limestone needed three quick stops and a punt or turnover. They got the first but Kennedy got loose for a seven-yard gain to set up a third-and-one situation.

Saints head coach Mike Furrey called a time-out to talk over the last 35 seconds of the game with his staff and players.

Coach Dean and his assistants decided to dance with the date they brought -the running attack. Whitlock turned to Kennedy. Fresh off his 82-yard run, the senior from Benedictine in Savannah bolted through the Saints’ defense and toward the end zone. He would have scored easily except a blade of grass would not let him be great. Kennedy stumbled and fell to the ground after picking up 28 yards and the game-ending first down.

Senior linebacker Xavier Robinson (Langston Hughes HS) led the Wolves defense with 11 tackles and one sack. Overstreet contributed nine total tackles and a pass breakup. Keondre Williams had a standout performance with eight stops, including two first-half sacks. Redshirt freshman Michael Merriweather had a memorable debut, intercepting a pass and contributing to two takeaways for the Wolves defense.

West Georgia goes on the road for the next three weeks with games against Texas A&M-Kingsville, Mississippi College, and West Florida that could have playoff implications. Yes, I’m talking about playoffs this early in the season. Last season, the Wolves lost a heart-breaker to Mississippi College on a late touchdown after leading the entire game. They lost the next week to West Florida before finishing the season on a winning streak. Those two losses left them in third place and on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

Coach Dean talked about how those losses and missing the playoffs factored into the team’s preparation for the season. “Every game is pressure for us,” he said. “We gotta win especially the games that are out of conference and this is one of them. It plays a big part. Our guys remember that and this is one of the teams that went to the playoffs last year over us.”


All photos c. Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports

2023 Limestone vs West GA