It was a historic night at Wilson High School, as the Lakemen football team played their home opener at the brand-new Walter J. Hutchison Field.
While playing on the new turf complex for the first time was special, securing a massive in-class victory made an already significant evening even better.
The Wilson defense held strong all game, as they defeated Akron, 20-6, in a battle of Class C North title contenders on Friday night.
“We had fans coming out from the whole community that wanted to see this place and I told them I wanted to put on a good show for them,” said Wilson coach William Atlas. “That one is for the community.”
While both teams’ defenses looked to be impenetrable in the first quarter, the Lakemen (4-0, 3-0) finally broke through 19 minutes into the game.
On fourth-and-11, quarterback Bobby Atlas connected with Brayden Dunlap on a screen pass, and Dunlap did the rest, taking it 22 yards to the end zone to put Wilson up 7-0.
Then, with under 30 seconds left until halftime, Atlas tossed his second touchdown of the game, a 16-yard dart to Jared Jaques, giving the Lakemen a 13-0 halftime advantage.
“They’re a tough defense and we took a little bit of what they were giving us. I didn’t expect to be throwing the ball that much,” said William Atlas on his team’s second quarter outburst.
Jaques, who tallied his first catches of the season in the win, wasn’t done after his touchdown reception. In the fourth quarter, with under five minutes to go, Jaques intercepted Akron quarterback Jacob Mazza and ran it back over thirty yards to extend the Lakemen advantage to 20-0 and ice the game.
“I was thinking try to get forward and don’t drop the ball, and then I saw my teammates blocking for me and I thought ‘I can do this,'” said Jaques on his pick six.
The Tigers (3-1, 2-1) suffered a massive blow in the first quarter, as starting quarterback Adam Mietz went down with an ankle injury and did not return to the contest. Mazza, who is normally a receiver, filled in for Mietz and managed to throw a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, but he could not seem to get the offense into a rhythm.
Combine that with multiple injuries on the defensive side as well, and it left Akron fighting an uphill battle for most of the game.
“Defensively we had five new kids on the field in different positions. In a 20-6 loss, I’m proud of our team because our backups held their offense for the most part,” said Akron coach Andrew Clouse. “Our second quarterback doesn’t get a ton of reps in practice, so our playbook shrunk.”
Both teams will continue their hunt for the Class C championship at home on Oct. 4th as Akron welcomes JFK and Wilson faces off with Cleveland Hill.
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