Wadley got its first win of the season, and got to see the start of a feel-good family legacy Friday with a 39-8 win over Talladega County Central.
Jacob Marable rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries as Wadley built a comfortable first-half lead that paved the way for some of the younger Wadley players to get some time on the field.
One of those players, who had already been starting on defense, is seventh-grader Jaquez Wilkes. The 6-foot-1, 12-year-old rushed for 70 yards on 11 carries and also caught a pass for a 15-yard gain in his first extended role as an offensive player.
And if that last name sounds familiar, there’s a good reason for that.
Wilkes is the nephew of the late Terrance Wilkes, a state record-setting running back who played for Wadley from 2001-2006 who was tragically murdered weeks before he was set to graduate from the school.
Terrance’s brother Paul is Jaquez’s father. Paul is an assistant coach for the Wadley team.
“He’s just going to keep getting better and better,” said Wadley head coach Shenan Motley. “We’re going to give him the ball. That’s all we can do. And he does a pretty good job blocking too. And he does the job over there at outside linebacker better than anybody we’ve got right now. So he’s going to play.”
Wadley quarterback Lakevion O’Neal threw for a touchdown and ran for another to help Wadley’s offensive cause. His 9-yard touchdown pass went to Isacc Minnifield, on what was Minnifield’s first catch of the season.
Tim Marable returned a fumble for a touchdown, and seventh-grader Cortavion Lynch added a rushing touchdown for the Bulldogs.
“It was a good game for us because we got some guys another game of experience,” Motley said. “And I can tell you we got better with some things we’ve been working on, especially with the offensive line firing off and staying on blocks.”
Wadley is now 1-2 and will host Victory Christian Friday.