PREP FOOTBALL

Still running strong

Ground game, defense carry Barons past rival Generals 35-7

By JUSTIN DRIGGERS justin@theitem.com
Posted 9/23/17

DALZELL — Wilson Hall head coach Adam Jarecki liked the way his team began Friday's matchup with Thomas Sumter Academy — and he also …

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PREP FOOTBALL

Still running strong

Ground game, defense carry Barons past rival Generals 35-7

Posted

DALZELL — Wilson Hall head coach Adam Jarecki liked the way his team began Friday's matchup with Thomas Sumter Academy — and he also liked the way it finished.

Everything in between was another matter, however.

Despite committing 10 penalties, turning the ball over twice and fumbling at least five snaps, the Barons' ground game and stingy defense once again paved the way for another victory as Wilson Hall topped rival TSA 35-7 at General Field.

The Barons improved to 4-1 overall with a home matchup against Heathwood Hall slated for next Friday at Spencer Field. The Generals, who fell to 2-4 overall, will celebrate Homecoming against Florence Christian School next week as well.

"A lot of sloppy play," WH head coach Adam Jarecki said afterwards. "Fumbled snaps, turned the ball over a few times and penalties. Kind of a step back from last week and that was disappointing. But I was proud of the way they finished it off at the end. Glad for the 'W.'

"...We thought we could line up and run at them and we did some, but they did a nice job adjusting to one side and kind of eliminating one of our backs."

That adjustment came after WH jumped to a 14-0 lead, though. Justin Timmons scored on a 34-yard run on his first carry of the night and backup quarterback Wise Segars — playing in his second straight game — found Landon VanPatten for a 21-yard strike as the Barons found the end zone on their first two possessions. 

But that was the only scoring for the better part of the next two and a half quarters. TSA adjustments and Baron miscues kept the game close until the end.

"It was a battle and we battled," Generals head coach Troy Kessinger said. "Yeah they scored a couple late ones at the end, but our defense kept us in the game and got better. That was our goal. We're looking at the next five games and really being ready for that region run. It's hard to say this in a 35-7 loss, but from that first game until now, we're a much more competitive team and a much more physical team. 

"...Our biggest thing tonight was we just couldn't put it in the end zone."

TSA missed a number of opportunities to put points on the board. One second-quarter drive stalled at the WH 14 when a fourth-down pass fell incomplete. 

Another promising drive ended in a fumble on the Barons side of the field. Perhaps the biggest turning point came when a pass from quarterback Eli Kessinger to Richard Huntley that would have set up first and goal was called back because of a chop block. TSA wound up having to punt on the drive.

"We're going to be looking at that one on film," coach Kessinger said of the call. "We'll see. There were two big calls like that."

The other came on WH's second scoring drive. A big pass play looked as if would be negated by two flags for an ineligible receiver downfield, but both were picked up.

The final big blow came in the third quarter when the Generals marched down the field on their opening drive only to stall again at the WH 16. 

"That was our plan — to change the momentum then," coach Kessinger said. "We just couldn't get it in the end zone and you have to be able to do that against a good team like Wilson Hall." 

TSA finally got on the board in the fourth quarter when junior lineman Landon Rose powered his way for a 1-yard score. But by then it 21-7. Timmons had 3-yard run in the third quarter as Wilson Hall went up three scores. Andrew McCaffrey and Graham VanPatten put the finishing touches on the victory with 2- and 39-yard TD runs, respectively, in the fourth quarter.

In all, the Barons rushed 50 times for 438 yards, led by Landon VanPatten who finished with 105 yards on 12 carries. Brandon Carraway was next with 93 followed by Timmons with 73.

The Wilson Hall defense turned in another stellar effort, limiting Thomas Sumter to just 57 yards of offense in the first half and under 250 overall. The TSA passing game was also kept in check as QB Kessinger threw for just 102 yards. 

"They're very good offensively," Jarecki said. "They hurt us a little bit with an inside trap, but overall proud of the effort." 

Noah Harvin had an interception for the Barons, continuing that streak for the WH secondary. Zach Fugate also picked off a pass for the Generals, who were led offensively by Garrett Hassler's 69 yards on six carries.