The Westside High program may be one of the newer kids on the block in Georgia high school football, but the Seminoles have made a quick impact on the game in seven years.
Westside (11-2) plays Valdosta (10-3) in the second GHSA Class AAAAA semifinal, set for 9 p.m. Saturday in Atlanta's Georgia Dome (radio: WAAC-FM 92.9 and WGOV-AM 950; television: Georgia Public Television).
The Macon school began its impact on high school football almost immediately, hiring veteran Warner Robins High coach Robert Davis to birth the program back in 1997.
Davis, whose Warner Robins teams had won state titles in 1976, 1981 and 1988, has a 316-58-1 record in his four decades of coaching.
His six full-season teams at Westside have gone 58-17. Five of the teams have made the playoffs, and this is the Seminoles' second trip to the state semifinals.
A win Saturday, the program's 12th this season, would be the most in the program's history.
Davis has faced 67 schools in his coaching career, and has never beaten two -- Dacula (0-1) and Parkview (0-2).
He has losing records against five other teams, including a bad time heading south on Interstate 75. He's 1-3 vs. Tift County, 1-5 vs. Valdosta and 5-8 vs. Lowndes. He's also 1-2 vs. Brookwood and Southwest DeKalb.
But the last four times Davis has met Valdosta, the winner has gone on to win the state championship. In 1981, Davis and Warner Robins beat Valdosta, 17-14, in a South Georgia playoff game.
Valdosta won meetings with Warner Robins in 1982 and 1984, en route to state titles, and beat Westside to open the 1998 season. That was Westside's first-ever loss, a 35-6 decision.
Valdosta also beat Davis and Westside, 27-7, in 1999.
The 2003 Westside team has taken a similar path to Valdosta this season. Get off to a slow start and come on fast.
While Valdosta was 1-3 to start the season, followed by a nine-game winning streak, Westside opened up 1-2 after road losses to Lowndes (23-19) and Northside (24-7). Those losses were sandwiched between a 21-7 win over Warner Robins.
From there, the Seminoles have won 10 straight games. The two closest calls came at Houston County, 26-21, and the season finale vs. Mount Zion, 21-7. In the final seven regular-season wins, Westside won by a combined 320-73 score.
In the playoffs, Westside has beaten Brunswick, 60-0; Lovejoy, 41-35; and South Gwinnett, 26-7. Both the Lovejoy and South Gwinnett wins were against previously unbeaten teams, both on the road.
The Seminoles have been successful because they run the football. Run, run, run the football, and run it some more.
And it starts with Travis Evans, who has run for 2,300 yards and 28 touchdowns this season. A fourth-year player for the Seminoles, Evans has run for 6,156 yards and 68 touchdowns in his career. He needs 162 yards to pass Herschel Walker on Georgia's all-time rushing list.
Evans has had 12 125-yard games this season, with Northside limiting Evans to 32 yards on 16 carries. His big game was a 309-yard, four-touchdown effort against Morrow.
Of the 1,369 rushing yards and eight touchdowns the Lowndes defense gave up this season, 209 yards and two scores were by Evans.
And he's not the only concern. Wanza Williams has gone for 1,350 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. And when the Seminoles have to throw it, Jerrod Lowe and Larry Patrick each have four touchdown catches. Lowe averages 28.1 yards per catch.
Lowe is also the school's career leader interceptions (14). Linebacker Roderick Cummings leads the team with 126 tackles, 23 for loss this season.
For more information on Westside football, go to the program's website at http://www.westsideseminoles.com/football
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