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Posted: Saturday, November 9th 2013 at 1:39am

Spartans clinch first winning season, playoff berth since '02

By staff reports
click to enlarge
The Spartans' Eric Camacho celebrates in a game earlier in the season.
DAWSONVILLE – West Hall's dream season is not over yet.

The Spartans advanced to the state playoffs for the first time since 2002 after holding on for a nail-biting 10-7 win over Dawson County Friday night at Tiger Stadium.

West Hall (6-4, 4-3 Region 7-AAA) clinched the No. 4 seed with the win and also clinched its first winning season since 2002 in a showdown for the final playoff spot from Region 7-AAA.

It was an improbable finish to an improbable season for West Hall. Most of the Spartans roster were not even in school the last time West Hall made the playoffs.

“We talked about that because we want to bring back the tradition they had back then,” West Hall coach Tony Lotti said. “These kids have worked real hard this year to get better and be competitive. They deserve this.”

The Spartans got a 5-yard touchdown run from Zach English in the first quarter to grab a 7-0 lead but Dawson County (5-5, 3-4) tied the game early in the second quarter on a 20-yard TD pass from Zach Buchan to Jackson Putnam.

The Spartans would take a 10-7 lead on a 37-yard field goal from Bradley Hodgson with 3:30 left in the first half.

The second half was dominated by both defenses. Dawson County, however, would miss on field goal tries of 47 and 48 yards.

West hall Hould get the ball with just over five minutes left in the game and Dawson County had two chances to stop the drive on third downs. The Spartans would get a 16-yard pass from English to Hunter Atkinson on 3rd-and-5 and then Atkinson would convert another third down with a 17-yard run old of the wildcat formation.

The Spartans would run out the clock to preserve the win.

“I feel great for this group of seniors that has had to endure so much during their time here,” Lotti said. “I feel great for Dr. (Greg) Williams, who can go out knowing that we were able to get back to the playoffs. Maybe he'll want to stick around a little longer now.”

West Hall now will get ready to take on Region 5-AAA champion Cartersville in the first round of the playoffs next week.
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