Highlanders run (467 yards) past Patriots
HUNTINGTON — As he sat in the locker room during a lengthy weather delay, Huntington High running back Ty Wilcoxon was unsure when he would get on the field.
But the senior running back for the Highlanders knew one thing: Once he got on the field, he was going to make the most of it.
Wilcoxon rushed 30 times for 250 yards, 203 in the first half, as Huntington High earned a 42-21 win over George Washington at Bob Sang Field on Friday night.
Wilcoxon said that despite weather delays it wasn’t hard for the Highlanders to get motivated on Friday.
“We’ve been playing so sluggish lately that I think we all were ready to come out and
prove what we could do,” Wilcox-on said. “We were all just ready. We talked about it all week.”
After struggling to finish out wins over Belfry and Riverside, the Highlanders’ offense started strong from the start and never relented against the undersized George Washington defense. The Patriots had no answer for the Huntington High rushing attack, which used its size up front to rush for 467 yards.
“I thought tonight that our offensive line finally played up to expectations,” Huntington High coach Billy Seals said. “I’m proud of them because they were challenged and they responded.”
Huntington High put the game away early in the second half, forcing George Washington quarterback Grant Wells — a Marshall University commit — into a pair of interceptions on consecutive passes. The Highlanders turned both of those turnovers into touchdowns to double a 14-point halftime lead and essentially put the game away.
“We got some pressure and we were pressing a little bit,” George Washington coach Steve Edwards Jr. said. ”(Huntington’s) kicker (Isaiah Carpenter) kept us to where we couldn’t get any return and had no field position at all. That’s a credit to them. They’ve got a good defense and matched us all the way around the board.”
After throwing for nearly 650 yards and six touchdowns coming into the game. Wells struggled to get going against the Highlanders. Wells finished 12 for 31 for 172 yards and two interceptions. He accounted for both George Washington touchdowns on a pair of 19-yard touchdown runs.
“I thought our defense did a fabulous job of disguising things,” Seals said. “We do a lot on the back half and I was really proud because all of those guys besides Tajhan Blackwell hadn’t really played defense until three weeks ago.”
The first of those touchdown runs cut Huntington High’s lead to 14-7 with 7:17 left in the first half. On that drive. Wells also completed four of six pass attempts to set up the score, however, the Highlanders answered Wells’ score with a 10-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard TD plunge from Diallo Mitchell that pushed the lead back to two scores and ate up more than five minutes.
The Highlanders had a chance to score again just before the end of the half, but George Washington’s Jacob Lindhardt intercepted a pass by Blackwell at the goal line.
Lindhardt later scooped up a late fumble and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown that set the final score.
Blackwell accounted for three touchdowns with a pair of scoring runs and a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kris Brown.
The game started on Friday night, but it did not end until Saturday morning after lightning delayed the start for more than two hours. Kickoff was slated for 7:30 p.m., but the field was cleared at 7:08 and teams did not re-emerge from the locker room until 9:18 p.m. Kickoff was at 9:37 p.m.