West celebrates birthday in fine style, earns POW honor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2014

0917 spt-Austin West POW

Florala’s Austin West scored three touchdowns for the Wildcats Friday night. | Josh Dutton/Star-News

Austin West wanted to make his 18th birthday celebration count.

The Florala senior running back and linebacker rushed for 109 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown; recorded 12 tackles; recovered two fumbles; forced one fumble; returned a fumble for a touchdown; and scored another touchdown on a punt return in the Wildcats’ 40-28 region victory over Red Level last week.

His stellar performance on the field earned him The Star-News’ Player of the Week honors.

West said he knew that the Wildcats had to play better than they did against Georgiana, where they lost 45-6 two weeks ago.

“We really had to rebound back from that game against Georgiana,” he said. “We really had to get back in the region and get a win.”

West said the offensive line played well for him.

“A lot of it had to do with the offensive line,” he said. “They dominated through most of the game.”

In the win over RLS, the Tigers gave the Wildcats a fight for the majority of the game. However, FHS pulled away for good late in the fourth quarter when West recovered a fumble and scored his final touchdown of the night.

It was at that point where West said he felt like he had a good game.

“It really all didn’t kick in until they fumbled it and took it in and scored,” West said.

What it took to keep the game in the Wildcats’ corner was borrowing what the team learned at practice last week, West said.

“We went and pulled down deep,” he said.

West and the rest of the Wildcats will travel to play McIntosh this week in a regular-season contest. This game will be a good tune up for McKenzie and Brantley in the second half of the season because MHS has speed.

“We’re going to have to work harder each week because this year we have a really tough region with Georgiana being better,” the senior said. “We’re going to have to work harder each week because that’s what other teams have done. They’re fighting for that spot just as hard as we are.”

When the lights had turned off and all was said and done, West went out with his friends to celebrate his birthday at Huddle House, and added that it was a special game for him.

“It just happened to be like that,” he said.

Austin is the son of Barry and Christy West of Florala.