Tyray Devezin ran for 163 yards on 24 carries and the Etowah defense held the hometown Lions to minus-18 rushing yards in the game. Quarterback Robbie Knox ran for a touchdown and completed another to Noah Dye, while the Eagles (10-2) outgained Westlake 359-144 on a brisk night.
“Coming in, we knew that they were superior to us athletically, and the things that we do well are with our guys up front. So we came in determined to run the football,” Etowah coach Dave Svehla said. “Our guys stayed after it play after play, our running backs ran hard and we had some success.”
The Eagles showed their might as one of Westlake’s greatest alumni stood on the sideline. Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton was in attendance, with his Carolina Panthers in their bye week.
“Defensively, we played outstanding,” Svehla said. “Our defensive coaches had a great game plan, we did a really good job of pressuring the quarterback and we were able to get our hands up on passes and force some interceptions.”
Etowah’s defense intercepted Westlake four times, with Brandon Reibly, Stuart Head, Cody Burdett, and Alan Michael Harris all picking off passes. The Eagle defense added five sacks as well — four alone by Reibly and another courtesy of Blaine Miller.
The win gave Etowah its first 10-win season in its 38-year history, and it sent the Eagles to the state quarterfinals for the first time in team history.
Etowah will host Newton (7-3), the No. 3 seed of Region 2AAAAAA, next Friday night. The Rams advanced to the quarterfinals with a 15-14 win over Central Gwinnett on Friday.
“We aren’t a part of all that history, so I can’t speak to that. But I know our kids have lofty goals, and we’re working hard to achieve them,” Svehla said. “I’m happy for our kids, and we’re excited to have a chance to play another game.”
Etowah jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead behind a 9-yard touchdown run by Stanlee Logue and a 1-yard quarterback sneak from Knox — the latter set up by Reibly’s interception.
Noah Weber’s 22-yard field goal to close out the second quarter gave Etowah a 17-0 lead at halftime.
Head intercepted a tipped pass on Westlake’s first drive of the second half and returned it to the Lions’ 9 yard line. Knox connected with Dye on a slant pass for a 6-yard touchdown three plays later, giving the Eagles a 23-0 lead with 7:10 to play in the third quarter.
Westlake scored its only touchdown with 9 minutes to play in the fourth quarter on a 35-yard pass from Dakota Rocker to Nigel Warrior, but the ensuing 2-point conversion failed.