(Carrollton/uwgsports.com) — A second half surge, including a big defensive play from former Heard County Brave Austin Barron, was the key to a season opening win for the 19th-ranked West Georgia Wolves, as UWG opened the 10th season at University Stadium with a 34-3 victory over the Catawba Indians on Ra-Lin Field on Saturday afternoon.
At the halftime break, the Wolves found themselves up 7-3, but 27 second half points that included three fourth quarter touchdowns, powered the Wolves past the visiting Indians.
On the afternoon, West Georgia racked up 362 yards of offense and held the Indians to less than 200 yards.
Offensively, the Wolves ran for 208 yards, including 95 on 19 carries and a touchdown from senior and 2017 Harlon Hill candidate Devontae Jackson.
West Georgia got off to a relatively slow start in the game, waiting until the 6:47 mark in the second quarter before getting on the board. That score, an 18-yard touchdown pass from junior Willie Candler to senior receiver Malik Henry, turned a 3-0 Catawba lead into a 7-3 advantage in favor of the Wolves.
Catawba’s offense struggled in the opening half, thanks in large part to a strong push up front from the UWG defensive line. The Wolves held the Indians to just 95 yards of total offense, with only 10 of those coming on the ground.
Former Brave Austin Barron had a key interception in the Wolves’ season-opening win Saturday
In the second half, West Georgia found the end zone via an eight-yard touchdown run by Devontae Jackson, but the PAT was no good, giving the Wolves a 13-3 lead late in the third.
On the ensuing Catawba possession, sophomore Austin Barron got a big play for the Wolves picking off Reid Carlton’s pass and setting up the UWG offense deep in the Indians’ territory.
Willie Candler capitalized on the takeaway and found Tevin Isom for the four-yard score, extending the lead to 20-3 after a successful PAT.
K.J. Parmer then ignited the Wolves faithful with a 62-yard punt return, putting West Georgia up 27-3 with 11:52 remaining in the game.
The final score of the game came by way of Sam Ndem, who ran it in from 20 yards out to stretch it out to a 31-point margin.
Junior signal caller Willie Candler finished the game 18-for-34 with 154 yards and a pair of scores. Candler’s top target was Malik Henry who caught four passes for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, West Georgia was led by Barron Burns, who made six stops. Montrell Pardue had four tackles and an interception to go along with Barron’s fourth-quarter pick.
The Wolves remain at home next Saturday, hosting Limestone at Ra-Lin Field. That game is slated for a 2:00 PM kickoff.
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