SALEM — Thorne Slaton rushed for two second-half touchdowns to help seal West Limestone's 41-14 win over Priceville as the Wildcats finished their Class 4A, Region 8 schedule unbeaten.
West Limestone will be the top seed from the region. Priceville's loss combined with Brooks' 30-7 win over Wilson eliminated the Bulldogs from postseason contention.
Colin Patterson had a touchdown pass for West Limestone (8-1, 7-0). Dakota Wilson opened the second half with a 78-yard kickoff return score. Bradley Smith added a score on a run. Maiko Bartmann kicked two field goals.
The Wildcats' undefeated region run was a satisfying turnaround after the team missed the playoffs by a three-game tiebreaker last season.
"It means a lot," Slaton said. "Last year we missed the playoffs by one game. Right after the last week, we just started getting back in the weight room trying to get more physical and get more ready so we could close out wins because we lost two games we should have won last year in the fourth quarter."
West Limestone got key contributions from its offense, defense and special teams to secure the victory against Priceville.
Xander Gaines scored from the Wildcats' 8 to cap the game's opening drive and put Priceville ahead 7-0 with 6:31 left in the first quarter.
From that point, West Limestone responded with 27 unanswered points. On the ensuing possession Patterson threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to River Helms.
After forcing a Priceville punt, the Wildcats tacked on a Bartmann 27-yard field goal at the 8:28 mark of the second quarter.
Bartmann added a 25-yard field goal one second before halftime.
West Limestone stopped Priceville on downs near midfield following Wilson's kickoff return score. Slaton capitalized on the field position with a 5-yard run to stretch the lead to 27-7 with 5:02 remaining in the third quarter.
Priceville narrowed its deficit with a Wyatt Hurt 27-yard touchdown pass to Joey Lubisco with 9:32 left in regulation.
Slaton and the his team's defense helped ensure there would be no fourth-quarter collapse by the Wildcats.
Priceville recovered an onside kick at West Limestone's 43 but was stopped on downs four plays later at the 46. Logan Haggard registered an 11-yard sack — the first of two he recorded in the game — on second down after the Bulldogs picked up eight yards on first down.
Slaton took over with two carries. After and eight-yard run on first down, he scored on a 44-yard burst with 7:57 remaining in the game.
West Limestone stalled Priceville's next drive on downs at the Bulldogs' 47. Smith's 17-yard touchdown wrapped up the drive and the scoring.
"We did a good job of coming out in the second half," West Limestone coach Shelby Davis said. "They really gave us all we wanted in the first half. In the second half, we came out and we really dug deep and did what we needed to do to put the game away."
Priceville (5-4, 3-4) suffered its third-straight loss after 5-1 start and a 3-1 region mark. The Bulldogs entered the game seeking their fourth postseason berth and back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in school history. They advanced to the second round in 2019.
"The other team was just a little bit more physical than us tonight," Priceville coach Chris Foster said. "Early on we wanted to try to get our inside game running. We did that first drive. They made some adjustments, and we adjusted, but we just weren't able to pop anymore after that first drive."
Priceville will close out its season at home against Saint John Paul II on Friday. West Limestone will host Ardmore in its regular-season finale.