By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
COAL CITY —
The Battleground at George D. Covey Field probably resembled Woodstock more than Bull Run, as rainy conditions on Thursday left the Friday night lights shining on a muddy mess.
That didn’t seem to matter too much for the Class AA No. 6 Wyoming East Warriors, as the boys from New Richmond came to Coal City and dismissed the home team Independence Patriots 42-14.
The Warriors (8-1) scored on a Jacob Summe 19-yard scamper early in the first quarter and never seemed to look back, rallying off 28 more points in the half and allowing Gary Poindexter’s team a chance to cruise through the second half on its way to victory.
“Our first half was played exactly like we wanted to,” Poindexter said. “We bent a little on defense in the third quarter and let them get some yardage and we can’t keep doing that in the second half, but overall I’m impressed with how we played.”
Wyoming East picked up 320 total yards of offense, including six players with double digits on the ground.
They were led by Summe’s 84 yards and three touchdowns.
“This feels really good (getting the win), but it’s all thanks to the (offensive) line,” Summe said. “They did a great job. They put a new blocking scheme in for this week and it really paid off.”
The offensive line rotation of Stevie Cook, Ryan Cantrell, Derek Laxton, Munch Powers, Steven Shrewsbury, Jordan Jedra and Erik Taylor opened holes in the muddy field all night, allowing the Warriors backs to power their way through the Independence defense, which Poindexter admits wasn’t an easy task.
The Warriors coach was left impressed with Independence, despite its 2-7 record.
“They’re quick and they play aggressive on defense,” he said. “No, their record is no reflection on the way they play.”
It’s wasn’t just the running game that was helped by the stellar play of the offensive line. It also opened up a passing game that allowed quarterback Aaron Griffith and receiver Christian Hedinger to thrive.
Griffith, who had to deal with the field conditions, threw for 58 yards — including a 41-yard touchdown pass to Hedinger in the first quarter — and ran for 58 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Independence showed sparks of what head coach Chris Vicars has been trying to achieve all season during the game, picking up 235 yards of offense against a tough East defense, including a 56-yard, opening drive touchdown, and a 74-yard touchdown drive in the third.
“We came out already kind of behind the 8-ball in the third quarter,” Vicars said. “But on the scoreboard, things may look a lot different than the way the game turned. They’re a great football team. They have big, strong, physical guys. But I felt like we had a lot of bright spots that we can kind of build off of.”
Independence will wrap up its season next week when it welcomes Fayetteville to the Battleground.
Wyoming East, however, will look to secure a first-round home playoff game when it hosts Liberty (4-5).
— E-mail: email@example.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.
WE (8-1) 14 21 0 7 — 42
I (2-7) 6 0 8 0 — 14
WE: Jacob Summe 19 run (Tristan Jones kick), 10:31.
I: Chris Mills 1 run (kick failed), 6:42.
WE: Christian Hedinger 41 pass from Aaron Griffith (Jones kick), 4:22.
WE: Summe 35 run (Jones kick), 11:41.
WE: Coty Bishop 5 run (Jones kick), 6:42.
WE: Summe 1 run (Jones kick), 4:22.
I: Mills 2 run (Colton Ward run), 3:21.
WE: Griffith 53 run, (Jones kick), 8:54.
RUSHING — WE: Bishop 7-38, Hedinger 2-41, Jacob Dulcie 2-26, Griffith 5-58, Brian Witt 3-13, Jacob Summe 8-84, Alec Lusk 1-2, Nik Walker 1-0. I: Ward 10-18, Brian Sexton 4-8, Dustin Justice 11-61, Brandon Treadway 4-17, Chance Rhodes 3-2, Mills 11-25.
PASSING — WE: Griffith 5-10-0-58. I: Sexton 8-12-0-104.
RECEIVING — WE: Hedinger 3-46, Dulcie 1-8, Jacob Boyce 1-4 . I: Ward 2-55, Justice 1-8, Treadway 1-8, Rhodes 1-3, Mills 2-30.
TAKEAWAYS — WE: Bishop (INT), Casey Saunders (INT). I: Austin Parrish (fumble recovery).