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Football: Wheeling Park Lays it on Brooke

September 22, 2012
By RICK THORP , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WELLSBURG - Wheeling Park used big plays offensively, huge hits defensively, and a gigantic effort on special teams to put away Brooke, 52-25, on Friday night at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

Zach Phillips threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns, four Park runners jaunted for scores, and the Patriots defense held the Bruins to 176 yards of offense, half of which came during the second half.

''The effort was really good,'' Park coach Chris Daugherty said. ''We haven't played four good quarters of football yet, but when that day comes I think we're a pretty good football team.

''On the whole, I thought our intensity was good.''

Was it ever.

Phillips hit Eric Banks for a 59-yard touchdown strike on the Patriots' first play from scrimmage and they never looked back.

Phillips scored on a 20-yard run on Park's next possession. And when Quashad Pugh returned a Brooke punt 77 yards to paydirt moments later, Park had a 21-0 lead with 2:19 left in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Brooke's offense struggled early for the Homecoming crowd, picking up only two first downs during the first 12 minutes.

That changed somewhat during the second quarter when the Bruins used 11 plays to march inside the Park 20. Bobby Moore's 35-yard field goal capped the drive and cut the deficit to 21-3.

Then, on the second half-kickoff, the Bruins caught another break.

Park (3-2) failed to gain control of Moore's boot and Brooke got the ball on the Patriots 1. Justin Loughrie scored on the next play. The conversion failed making the score 21-9.

But Park rebounded with four straight scores, capped by Liam Casey's 20-yard field goal that made it 45-9. Casey was also 7 of 7 on extra points.

Aaron Walker returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to make it a 45-16 game. But, three plays later, Theo Blackston, on a third-and-9 play, shot down the field for a 69-yard touchdown to up Park's lead to 52-16.

''I thought our kids did a great job rebounding from last week,'' Daugherty said. ''And it's been a tough week to be a Wheeling Park Patriot. These guys have battled through a lot and I'm just really proud of them.''

Wheeling Park student Kurt Myers died Sunday. His brother, Greg, scored on a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Daugherty presented the game ball to Greg, a senior, after the game.

''We definitely had heavy hearts for his family and him,'' Daugherty said. ''We wanted to come out and play well for the Myers' and Greg. It was a hard week for our team because our kids care so much about each other and care so much for Greg.''

Alec Buchmelter finished with 100 yards passing for the Bruins, the TD strike going to Heath Hildreth in the fourth quarter.

''We're a lot younger than people realize,'' first-year Brooke coach Sean Blumette said. ''The way the season has unfolded due to injuries, etc., we've been forced to play younger than we are.''

Blumette pointed out two freshmen are starting and, due to injuries, other players are being thrown into the fire earlier than expected.

''In a perfect world we'd like to develop them a little more slowly,'' he said.

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