NEWLAND — Coming off a hard-fought loss at Forbush last week, the West Wilkes Blackhawks fell to 2-0 this fall with a 51-6 loss to Avery County at MacDonald Stadium on Friday night.

Nearly everything went right for the Vikings on the night as they exploded for over 400 yards offensively and limited West Wilkes to just over 150.

Offensively, Avery displayed a passing clinic as quarterback Troy Hoilman had a career night with 365 passing yards. The junior accounted for seven touchdowns on the night, including six through the air.

Ty Smith and Jonas Bowman were on the receiving end of those scores as they managed 176 yards with four touchdowns and 133 yards and two touchdowns, respectively.

“Offensively Troy does a lot of good things for us,” said Avery County Head Coach Mac Bryan. “We’ve got receivers who make plays and the offensive line is pretty solid, we played a pretty good game tonight. I’m very pleased, we’re where we need to be right now.”

The only blemish on the big night for the Vikings came on the opening possession of the game as West capped off an 80-yard drive with a 1-yard run by Dallas Rash to take the lead. It would be the only lead for the Blackhawks on the night.

 “We knew they could put points on the board. They scored 53 last week and we knew we needed to keep the ball out of their hands,” said West Wilkes Head Coach Todd Rutz. “It looked early like we’d be able to do that, but then a couple key fourth down situations where I thought we were going to pick up a first down, changed the momentum. We made some mistakes, we had a couple turnovers, but we’re still plugging away.”

West Wilkes got off to an ideal start as they elected to receive the opening kickoff, and drove the length of the field to get on the board first. The Blackhawks took over on their own 20-yard line and used a heavy dose of Rash to move down the field. After picking up a first down with Jaden Wentz’s 11-yard reception, Rash took the handoff up the middle and burst through the defense unscathed. The senior nearly scored on the play, but was tackled just short of the goal line for a 63-yard run. Rash, who rushed for a game-high 140 yards, capped off the drive two plays later with a 1-yard touchdown to give the Blackhawks an early 6-0 lead.

That lead wouldn’t last long as Avery took over possession and scored on their fourth play. Hoilman dropped back and found Bowman wide open across the middle of the field, leading him in stride as he scampered 53 yards for the touchdown. Finley Serafim’s kick gave the Vikings the lead 7-6, which they held the rest of the way.

Avery (2-0) kept its foot on the gas pedal as it would find the end zone on their next five possessions, while the Blackhawks continued to struggle offensively. Hoilman scored his second of the night with a quarterback sneak up the middle from 1-yard out; however, he would throw for the next four scores to give the Vikings a 38-6 lead at the half.

The Blackhawks managed to make some defensive adjustments at the half and limited Avery to only 142 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, but the damage was already done.

“We didn’t lay down in the second half. Our defensive coaches made some adjustments with coverage in the second half and that allowed us to slow them down a bit in the second half, so it was nice that we didn’t lay down,” stated Rutz.

West Wilkes will return to the gridiron this Friday with a home game against former Northwest 1A foe Bishop McGuinness (0-2), while Avery County travels to undefeated North Buncombe.

“Bishop McGuinness is someone we can play against,” continued Rutz. “We’re looking forward to lining up against them and that’s the great thing about football, is it’s a new week.”

Notes: Garrett Patrick and Seth Culler paced the Blackhawk defense with five tackles apiece and Garrett Shumate finished with 3.5 tackles. Bryan, who is in his second season as the Vikings’ head coach, is from Traphill and is the former head coach of the Blackhawks.

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