By Cam Huffman
In an era of spread offenses and throwing the football all over the field, Wyoming East proved Friday night that smashmouth football still works.
The Warriors (7-1) ran the ball 49 times for 307 yards, using eight different backs to carry the load in a 27-6 victory that spoiled homecoming at H.B. Thomas Field for Shady Spring.
Wyoming East wasn’t fancy — staying between the tackles for most of the night — but the attack was effective. Coty Bishop ran for 97 yards on just 10 carries, finding the end zone twice, while Nik Walker added some speed to the power, carrying the pigskin 12 times for 83 yards. Jacob Summe, coming into form after missing some early games with an injury, had 80 yards on 17 carries.
“We’re blessed to have four or five guys that can carry the ball at any time,” said Wyoming East head coach Gary Poindexter. “It’s a big advantage for us.”
Shady Spring’s night was defined by its second drive of the game. After the teams exchanged three-and-outs, the Tigers (1-6) marched from their own 24 down to the Wyoming East 12, where they were knocking on the door for the first score of the game. Tyler Hanson — who had a big night with 118 yards on 21 carries — did most of the work, but on a second-and-eight from the 12, the Tigers were sacked three straight times, giving Wyoming East the ball and the momentum.
The No. 6 team in Class AA proceeded to drive 73 yards on 10 plays, a halfback pass from Alec Lusk to Christian Hedinger setting up a 2-yard Bishop plunge.
The Warriors never looked back, scoring twice more in the second quarter on 2-yard runs from Summe and Bishop to take a commanding 20-0 lead into the break.
Shady threatened to cut into that lead in the closing minutes of the second quarter, driving to the Wyoming East 8-yard line as the clock ticked inside a minute, but Hanson tossed an ill-advised halfback pass into the end zone, where Casey Saunders was waiting for an interception.
“We had lots of chances,” said Tiger head coach Vince Culicerto. “That’s stuff we’ve been doing all year. We’ve got down there on a few teams. We just can’t put it in, and we start making mistakes. We’re trying to shake that loose, and we can’t.”
Wyoming East put the game away with the play of the game in the third quarter, a perfectly lofted Aaron Griffith pass to Hedinger down the sideline. The Warrior receiver caught the ball in stride and walked into the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown that put his team ahead 27-0.
“We were worried about playing four quarters, and I thought we did that,” said Poindexter. “We haven’t done that the last four or five games, and that’s what we were preaching all week.”
Griffith completed half of the six passes he threw for 42 yards and the score.
Shady was able to avoid the shutout when quarterback Timmy Culicerto capped off a long drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Steven Chhabra on a slant route.
“Tyler Hanson had a heck of a game, and he ran hard,” said Vince Culicerto. “The guys wanted to score, and I was proud that we scored and that the defense played a lot better in the second half.”
Wyoming East will get a week off before traveling to Independence on Nov. 1.
Shady Spring will host Point Pleasant on Friday.
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.
Wyoming East 27, Shady Spring 6
WE (7-1) 7 13 7 0 — 27
SS (1-6) 0 0 0 6 — 6
WE: Coty Bishop 2 run (Tristan Jones kick) 0:02
WE: Jacob Summe 2 run (Jones kick) 5:01
WE: Bishop 2 run (Griffith pass fails) 2:34
WE: Christian Hedinger 32 pass from Aaron Griffith (Jones kick) 3:06
SS: Steven Chhabra 10 pass from Timmy Culicerto (Jonathon Hardy pass fails) 0:17
RUSHING — WE: Jacob Summe 17-80, Nik Walker 12-83, Christian Hedinger 2-4, Coty Bishop 10-97, Aaron Griffith 4-16, Jacob Dulcie 1-12, Brian Whitt 2-4, Hunter Simmons 1-11. SS: Joel White 12-58, Tyler Hanson 21-118, Timmy Culicerto 9-3, John Lively 1-0.
PASSING — WE: Aaron Griffith 3-6-0-42, Alec Lusk 1-1-0-27. SS: Timmy Culicerto 12-22-0-127, Tyler Hanson 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING — WE: Christian Hedinger 4-69. SS: Steven Chhabra 4-33, Jordan Meadows 2-17, Joel White 1-33, Jonathon Hardy 2-17, Tyler Hanson 2-9, Matthew Plumley 1-24.
TAKEAWAYS — WE: Bishop (FR), Casey Saunders (INT) . SS: None.