The Westover Patriots had circled this day on their calendar.
Just months ago at Hugh Mills Stadium, the Monroe Tornadoes knocked the Patriots out of the playoffs on the final night of the 2011 regular season. On Saturday, Westover met the Tornadoes on the same field and seized their chance at revenge.
Westover outlasted Monroe for a hard-fought 17-14 region opening victory.
The Westover team that had failed to hold a second half lead in its previous two games chased away those demons on Saturday night.
"We did a chant (at the start of the fourth quarter), and it was "I lay down my life for my team, I lay down my life for my team...Go Patriots," Westover head coach Octavia Jones said. "I talked to them before the game about laying it all out on the line and they did that tonight."
Leading 14-7 in the fourth quarter, Patriots kicker Tanner Stumpe kicked a 42 yard field goal with three minutes left for some Westover breathing room. That exhale was cut short as the Tornadoes scored a touchdown on their next offensive play. Quarterback Charles Stafford hit a wide open Kevin Williams to cut the score to 17-14.
Monroe had one final chance to tie or win the game, but the Patriots broke up a fourth down pass intended for Tornado Devonntavis Campbell with 30 seconds remaining.