SPRING MILLS - As the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights began running the ball against the Spring Mills Cardinals on Saturday, Wheeling Central coach Mike Young got what he wanted.
The Maroon Knights rushed for 444 yards and scored 41 unanswered points in beating Spring Mills, 50-20.
"This was a big momentum builder for us heading into next week," Young said as the Maroon Knights improved to 6-4, raising their likelihood of reaching the postseason. "We had been in the playoffs the last 16 years, and we did not want to disappoint anyone by not making it this year."
Wheeling Central’s Isaac Rine (7) takes off as Spring Mills’ Colton Henson (26) closes in during their game Saturday.
Photo by Spenser Leatherman
Wheeling Central took charge, scoring 21 points in the opening quarter.
Isaac Rine and C.J. Burch combined for 70 yards on six plays on the Maroon Knights opening possession. Rine rushed for 8 yards before Burch scored on the next possession on a 54-yard run to cap off a three-play, 77-yard drive. Joe John added another touchdown for Wheeling Central on a 46-yard run from a direct snap.
The Maroon Knights added 13 more points in the second quarter.
Rine found John on a 5-yard pass to cap a eight-play, 70-yard drive to stretch the lead to 28 points with 4:30 to play in the half. Two minutes later, Burch scored on a 39-yard touchdown trot to make the score 34-0 at halftime.
Following a sixth touchdown by Central to start the second half, Spring Mills got on the scoreboard.
William Sweeney and Alex Rideout started out the Cardinals' opening drive of the second half with three runs combining for 15 yards. Lane Riner then found Sweeney for a 10-yard pass play, and Spring Mills added 14 more yards from a Wheeling Central personal foul.
On third-and-11 from the Maroon Knights 15, Riner connected with Sweeney on a 12-yard pass, throwing the ball off his back foot for a first down. Riner then found Demetrius Jalepes two plays later for the touchdown with 2:24 remaining in the quarter.
Wheeling Central's first drive of the final 12 minutes stalled, resulting in a 37-yard field goal by Alex Calvert. The Maroon Knights scored a touchdown on their next possession following an interception by Adam Campbell.
Wheeling Central capped a seven-play, 37-yard drive with a Matthew Gruber pass to Luke Fahey to make the score 50-7.
Even as the Maroon Knights carried the momentum throughout the 48 minutes, Spring Mills ended its inaugural season on a positive note.
Following the Maroon Knights touchdown, the Cardinals relied on Hezekiah Dupree, who made his debut following a recent move into the school district.
"He did a good job on a short week working with us," Cardinals coach Derek Munson said of Dupree. "In the future, he is going to be a nice asset for the program."
Dupree commanded the rushing on the drive, bulldozing his way to six carries for 69 of his 85 total rushing yards and capping the drive with a 3-yard touchdown plunge.
The Cardinals recovered an onside kick and relied on a pair of carries from Jalepes, one for 15 yards and the other for a 31-yard touchdown, to round out the scoring.