Was it a game of beauty? Far from it, but it certainly met the needs of the Wilson Hall football team.
“We’re 5-1 now,” said Barons head coach Adam Jarecki after his team knocked off Heathwood Hall 21-0 on Friday at Spencer Field. “That’s the important thing.”
As is improving to 3-1 in SCISA 3A play for WH. Wilson Hall struggled with the Highlanders for the better part of three quarters before a late third-quarter touchdown made it 14-0 and a 62-yard scoring run by running back Justin Timmons in the final stanza put the game away.
Heathwood, which is in its first year under the tutelage of former University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, lost its sixth straight game after winning its opener. It is 0-5 in 3A play.
“Heathwood did a good job of taking our fullback away,” Jarecki said. “We knew that’s what they’d try to do. They play hard and they really get after you.
“We made some adjustments and we did what we had to do.”
The game started with the Barons looking as though they would dominate. They received the opening kickoff and went 59 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. They took over five minutes off the clock as Timmons scored on a 7-yard run with 6:48 left in the first quarter. Mills Herlong added the extra point to make it 7-0.
Timmons had a 39-yard run on the drive to set up the touchdown. However, no more points would come WH’s way until 58 seconds remained in the third quarter, although it had its chances.
Timmons broke off a 42-yard punt return in the second quarter that would have set Wilson Hall up inside the HH 40, but it was called for a block in the back.
Late in the first half, Timmons had a 72-yard scoring run brought back with a holding penalty.
Freshman quarterback Wise Segars connected with split end Chandler Scott for 49 yards on the next play though for a first down at the Heathwood Hall 30-yard line. The Barons eventually got to a first down and goal at the 1 with Segars spiking the ball to stop the clock with 15 seconds left. Despite being out of timeouts, WH ran the ball and Timmons fumbled. Although Wilson Hall recovered, it couldn’t’ stop the clock before time expired.
“We really hurt ourselves again with a couple of big penalties,” Jarecki said. “We’ve got to stop doing that because we can’t afford to have plays brought back like there.
“There at the end of the first half, that’s on me. I didn’t manage the clock well. I called a timeout too early and we didn’t have it at the end.”
The Highlanders were shut out for the first time this season, but they too missed on some opportunities.
Heathwood put together a drive late in the first quarter that had it reach the Wilson Hall 15 on second down and seven. A sack of quarterback Duffy Beal by linebacker Mitchell Matthews pushed HH back to the 24. After an incompletion, placekicker Grayson Tanner missed wide left on a 41-yard field goal attempt.
With the Barons attempting to punt later in the second quarter, Herlong had the ball sail over his head. He retrieved it on the bounce and tried to get the kick off at an angle. It was blocked and Heathwood Hall took over at the WH 13. The Highlanders picked up a first down at the 3, but wound up facing fourth and goal at the 6. Tanner came on for a 23-yard field goal attempt, but missed this one wide right.
The third quarter was a game of field position and it finally paid off for Wilson Hall. With Heathwood having to punt from its 21, the Barons’ Harrison Hudson caught the ball at midfield and returned it to the HH 39.
Three plays later, WH was facing fourth and six from the 35. Wilson Hall decided to go for it and it went for the end zone. Segars rolled to his and found Landon Van Patten wide open around the goal line for the touchdown. Herlong’s PAT made it 14-0.
The Barons were playing their third straight game with Segars at quarterback as senior starter Jacob Cotton is out with an illness.
“Wise did a nice job on that play,” Jarecki said. “We rolled him out to avoid any pressure that might come up the middle, and he found (Van Patten) out there wide open.”
WH put the game away early in the fourth quarter with Timmons’ 62-yard run with 9:04 remaining. He rushed for 179 yards on 23 carries.
Wilson Hall finished with 350 yards of total offense, 236 coming on the ground. HH was limited to 189 yards, just 51 rushing.
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively,” Jarecki said. “We kept getting people banged up, but we made the plays when we had to."