Sep. 9—ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls football team earned its first win of the 2023 season with a thrilling 14-12 win over West Columbus Friday at G.S. Kinlaw Stadium.
"It was hard getting the monkey off our back, trying our best to get a win," St. Pauls coach Mike Setzer said. "I'm proud of the kids, because it's been tough. It's been a long time since we were in this situation. But we found a way.
"I'm happy, I'm proud of our kids and the way they fought, and to get the first win of the season is huge."
West Columbus (3-1) scored a touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Unique Kelly to Jahmir Dorsey with 1:02 remaining to pull within two points; Bulldogs defensive back Jalen Kinard broke up a pass attempt on the two-point try to maintain the lead.
"Our defense was lights out tonight; they got us the ball back several times," Setzer said. "We've got to find a way to capitalize on turnovers, but our defense, I was so proud of them. They had a bend mentality but didn't break."
West Columbus recovered an onside kick, but was unable to score before time expired.
St. Pauls (1-3) took an 8-6 lead in the second quarter when Theophilus Setzer ran it in from two yards out and Tyler Parks ran in the two-point conversion. The Bulldogs extended the lead to 14-6 when Parks scored on a 3-yard run with 9:20 remaining in the fourth quarter, but a run attempt failed on the conversion try.
West Columbus opened the scoring with a 77-yard pass from Kelly to Jaylen Bellamy on the third play from scrimmage. An extra-point attempt was no good.
"They wanted to stay undefeated and we wanted to get a win, so it made for a good, good ballgame," Mike Setzer said.
The Bulldogs' Theophilus Setzer completed 12 passes for 108 yards and also ran for 19 yards and a touchdown. Quintell McNeill rushed for 36 yards for the Bulldogs.
Kelly completed eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings; Bellamy caught three passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
St. Pauls has a bye week next Friday before hosting Charlotte Latin in its homecoming game and nonconference finale on Sept. 22.
"We're trying our best to make sure that we cover a lot of things that we've got to get fixed," Mike Setzer said.
Fairmont drops third straight at Southern Lee
The Fairmont football team lost 38-12 at Southern Lee in nonconference play Friday.
Southern Lee (3-1) took a 21-0 lead by late in the second quarter and led 35-0 late in the third.
"We just got outplayed — outcoached and outplayed," Fairmont coach Jeremy Carthen said. "I've got to take this one pretty much on the chin of the coach. But they didn't give up, they gave it their best shot — that's all I can ask from them."
Fairmont (1-3) scored two touchdowns in the final minutes. Both were passing touchdowns from breakout star Harlan Hunt, one to Gabriel Washington and one to Emanuel Oxendine.
"(Hunt) is doing a great job of picking up and hitting the athletes, and letting them get in space and do their thing," Carthen said.
Fairmont will take the long trip to Martin County next week as the Golden Tornadoes finish up their nonconference slate before an open date the following week.
"We're just going to keep trying to be positive," Carthen said. "Don't beat ourselves up whenever we get down, try to find a way to stay positive and have fun out there, because at the end of the day it's still a game. You're still finding a way to play for your brothers and trying to have fun."