Dominant performances on both sides of the ball were the key to victory Friday night in Millers Creek as the West Wilkes Blackhawks rolled over the visiting Bishop McGuiness Villains by a 52-22 score.
The Hawks rushing attack was impressive as nine players combined to gain 460 yards on the night. West’s Dallas Rash led all players with 165 yards on the evening, including four touchdowns. West’s Garret Patrick also eclipsed the century mark on the night, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown.
The Blackhawks defense also impressed, holding the Villains to only 38 yards on the ground for the entire game. Bishop’s offense was held to only two first downs through the first three quarters and only achieved four first downs for the entire game. The Blackhawks recorded seven tackles for loss on the night and gave up just one touchdown through the first three quarters, a 75-yard pass play in the second quarter.
“Our kids played real well tonight. We’ve been working on coming off the ball and pounding it. Our guys up front finally came together tonight and started moving some people around,” commented West Wilkes Head Coach Todd Rutz. “We’re counting on our defense this year and they played real well tonight.”
The tone was set early as Bishop McGuiness was forced to punt on the opening possession of the game after losing three yards on three downs. On fourth down, Bishop McGuiness punter Yael Guzman’s knee touched the ground as he fielded the low snap, ending the play and giving the Blackhawks the ball in the red zone at the Bishop 13-yard line. Dallas Rash cashed in on fourth-and-four from the 7, giving the Hawks an early 6-0 lead.
After another Bishop three-and-out, this time for a net loss of two yards, the Hawks would take over at their own 39. West Wilkes marched down the field in eight plays, taking only three minutes, again ending with a touchdown from Rash. The senior scored the two-point conversion try as well.
On its next drive, Bishop quarterback Thomas Markun found Pit Piwon on the slant and Piwon turned on the jets, outrunning the entire Blackhawk secondary en route to the end zone. The two-point conversion was good cutting West’s lead to 14-8.
That would be as close as it would get as the Blackhawk defense buckled down and suffocated Bishop’s offense. The only West Wilkes lost fumble of the night gave Bishop the ball at the West 48. However, the Hawks defense gave up only one yard.
The Blackhawk offense went back to work, this time scoring on a nine-play, 2:08 drive, resulting in a Jackson Jarvis 4- yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was good.
The offense was off the field for only five plays as the Blackhawk defense forced another three and out. Patrick would get in on the scoring this time, capping a quick three play, 56-second drive with a 27-yard touchdown run. Robert Heater caught the pass from Jarvis for two points to extend the Hawks’ lead to 30-8.
West Wilkes used its timeouts on the next Bishop drive to stop the clock as the defense once again forced a Bishop three and out — its fifth of the half.
West Wilkes took over at its own 34-yard line with just 1:06 remaining in the half and 55-yard connection on third and eight from Jarvis to Patrick gave the Hawks hope with just 30 seconds left on the clock.
A late hit penalty by the Villains put the ball on the 6-yard line and Rash would score his third touchdown of the night as the scoreboard turned to zero, giving the Hawks a commanding 38-8 lead heading into halftime.
The second half was much of the same, with the Blackhawks putting their stamp on the game with the first possession of the second half.
West’s ground attack punished the Villains defense with a 10-play drive that consumed five-and a-half minutes. Rash punched it in for a fourth time, this time followed by a Trenton Mastin extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bishop McGuiness fumbled and gave the Blackhawks the ball right back at the Bishop 47. The Blackhawks backups began taking snaps from this drive on with the game well in hand.
Bishop McGuiness scored twice more, once on defense and once late in the fourth quarter. Risdon Williams would return an interception from Mastin, on shovel pass to his half back, 77 yards for the touchdown.
West Wilkes’ Alex Roland added a touchdown with 5:59 left in the fourth to make the score 52-14.
The Blackhawks, who are now 1-2, will enjoy their bye week next Friday before a trip to Grayson County (Va.) in two weeks. The Villains will return home this Friday and host Walkertown.
In JV action, the Blackhawks moved to 2-0 with a 24-0 win over the Villains.