Most teams that played Wadley last year know about Jaquez Wilkes. They know about Cortavion Lynch. They even know about Brent Langley and many of the other impact players that the Bulldogs have. But week by week, those teams are learning the hard way about receiver/defensive back Frisco Robertson.
Robertson had two more interceptions and scored two touchdowns on just three offensive touches as Wadley put together a statement win, 41-7, over No. 10 Spring Garden.
The Bulldogs forced a total of six turnovers against a Spring Garden team that just could not hold onto the football for much of the night.
And Robertson was right in the middle of the pivotal stretch that turned the game Wadley’s way.
Wadley trailed 7-6 after the first quarter, but Robertson’s first pick came on the first play of the second quarter when he leapt in front of a downfield, third-down throw and gave Wadley good field position at its own 42-yard line.
Wadley went to work on the ground with Wilkes and Lynch before the drive bogged down to a fourth-and-two situation from the Spring Garden 30-yard line. That’s when Wadley put the ball in Robertson’s hands on an end around and he turned the corner for the go-ahead touchdown from 30 yards out.
He added an 80-yard touchdown catch on the second play of the second half, then came up with his second interception on a deflected pass early in the fourth quarter (and nearly returned that for a touchdown) to essentially put the game away.
Robertson now has five interceptions through Wadley’s first three games, has caught four passes for 237 yards (nearly 60 yards per catch) and three touchdowns, and has run eight times for 124 yards and three more scores.
Those flashes of brilliance have become the perfect complement to Wilkes and Lynch, who have put in the work in the Wadley running game.
Wilkes finished with 158 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, while Lynch ran 14 times for 122 yards and two scores, as Wadley spread the touchdown love evenly among its three super sophomores.
It was something of a statement win for Wadley as they have not received a single vote thus far this season in the ASWA top 10 polls, while Spring Garden has been ranked all season to this point.
Both of those things will almost certainly change after Friday’s result, which also puts Wadley in the driver’s seat in the race for the top spot on Class 1A, Region 6.
It’s just the first region game of the season, so there’s still a long way to go. And Wadley beat Spring Garden last year also but lost to Ragland and fell to third place at the end of the season. So nothing has been won yet. But such a one-sided win against one of the presumptive region frontrunners will almost certainly put the rest of the region on notice that Wadley may be the team to beat.
The Bulldogs are now 3-0, while Spring Garden falls to 1-2 with the loss. Wadley will put that unbeaten mark on the line next week at Donoho.
Handley 32, Jacksonville 24
Handley’s win over Jacksonville was not nearly as convincing as Wadley’s in terms of the margin of victory, but the battle of top-10 teams was impressive in its own right. And the win for Handley will certainly go a long way towards Tigers’ goal of reaching the top of the region standings at the end of the year.
Handley jumped out to a 14-3 lead early, but saw that lead evaporate by the third quarter. Jacksonville went on top 24-20 with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Jim Ogle early in the third.
But Handley’s Cannon Kyles answered with a 41-yard strike to Amajah Williams later in the quarter to put Handley back in front, and EJ Goss added a 9-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter as Handley’s defense locked down on Ogle and company for the rest of the half.
Goss continued his big-time productivity in his first year as Handley’s lead running back. He went over 150 yards for the third time in as many game, rushing for 188 and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
Kyles showed his true dual-threat nature as a quarterback as he ran for 111 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and threw his first two touchdown passes of the season – one to Williams and another to Montrevious Black from 39 yards out that put Handley up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Ogle, who is committed to Troy, completed 15-of-31 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns, but Handley held Jacksonville to 59 yards rushing for the game and put consistent pressure on Ogle when he dropped back to pass.
Handley came into the game ranked No. 6 in the state in Class 4A, while Jacksonville sat one spot ahead of them at No. 5. At the minimum Handley will leapfrog its Friday foes in the rankings. And more importantly the Tigers hold a 1-0 record in region play, with that win coming against what may have been its chief competition for the top spot.
Handley is 3-0 and comes through a season-opening stretch of playing three straight future D1 players at quarterback unscathed. The Tigers will get to catch their breath a little bit against a winless White Plains team next week. Jacksonville falls to 2-1 with the loss.
RCHS 38, Childersburg 28
Two RCHS running backs went over 100 yards, and the Tigers were able to hold off an improved Childersburg team 38-28 to open region play Friday at Childersburg.
Austin Terrell ran for 111 yards and three touchdowns on 17 runs, and Mo Winston carried 20 times for 166 yards and two scores as the Tigers racked up a total of 372 yards on the ground.
Amari Molden flirted with giving RCHS three 100-yard rushers before he finished with 72 yards and a touchdown on six carries.
RCHS jumped out a 20-0 lead but Childersburg made it a game with a couple of big plays before halftime. They got an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 3:35 left in the half to get on the board, then added a 33-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the half to cut the lead to 20-14 at the break.
But an 11-yard score by Terrell late in the third quarter gave RCHS some breathing room, and Molden’s 33-yard run for six with 8:30 left in the game put it out of reach.
RCHS is 2-0 and will face Ragland in a non-region road game next week. Childersburg falls to 1-2 with the loss.
Clay Central 41, Tallassee 7
Ranburne 38, Fayetteville 19
BB Comer 45, Woodland 0
Look for full coverage of all of these games in the print edition of the Randolph Leader next Wednesday.