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Wildcats scratch Lebanon 45-7, climb to 5-0
Sep 16, 2012 12:00 am
By ANDY REED
After three years of struggles, Wilson Central finds itself 5-0 midway through the 2012 season.
The Wildcats hit big plays through the air and on the ground to overwhelm host Lebanon 45-7 Friday night at Clifton Tribble Field/Danny Watkins Stadium.
After missing his first pass, junior quarterback Jordan Roundtree hit his final seven throws, including three for touchdowns covering 38, 26 and 29 yards to Alex Price, and his final one for a 73-yard score to Blake Lea. He took his only carry 47 yards to the end zone.
"Coming into it we weren't sure what we were going to get defensively, looking at film," third-year Wildcats coach Brad Dedman said after Central moved to 3-0 in District 9-AAA. "They gave us a few things we could take advantage and we saw that early on. [Roundtree] has been throwing the ball well all week long... The deep ball was definitely on tonight.
"[Five-and-oh] was definitely something I wasn't expecting, to be honest. The kids have bought into what we are doing here. I can't compliment those guys enough. They bust their rear end every day. They come to work and it's definitely paying off for them."
On the other sideline, Lebanon coach Troy Crane found a running game, but had to dust off some wildcat formation plays, used last year for Juicy Apple, out of necessity. Muhammad Alageda tore his ACL and MCL in Thursday's freshman game at Wilson Central, leaving classmate Christian Haffner, the varsity starter, as the only quarterback in the entire program. Several running backs took direct snaps and one, senior Ethan Copas, even hit 2 of his 3 passes for 17 yards. But it was freshman fullback Julien Crutchfield who proved to be the human pile mover with 57 yards on 15 carries, including the Blue Devils' only touchdown on a 1-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
"He's recovering from his broken foot," Crane said of Crutchfield. "He's getting better each week Last week, he wasn't really able to push off it. This week, he was able go in there and play some at the defensive end position and then running the belly, he was able to get a good push and move the pile some, and that was promising to see.
"But still, you got to have somebody back there as the triggerman who can make plays stretching the field vertically, and just right now we don't. But we got a cat back there who's a freshman who's getting some valuable experience... There isn't a harder-working young man than Christian Haffner and he's my horse [even] if he doesn't ever win a race."
Wilson Central left winless Lebanon in the dust at the starting line as Roundtree tossed a 38-yard score to Price and Brad Cavanough kicked a 34-yard field goal for a 10-0 first-quarter lead.
Roundtree, who finished with 205 yards on 7-of-8 passing, whipped touchdown tosses of 26 and 29 yards to Price for a 24-0 lead. Price finished with 113 yards on five catches.
In between, Crane began giving the Wildcats a steady dose of Crutchfield runs as the 6-3, 250-pounder helped move the Blue Devils from their 20-yard line to the Wildcat 44 before fumbling, with Eric Simmons recovering for Central.
Simmons capped the first-half scoring with a 20-yard touchdown on a wingback trap for a 31-0 lead.
Central finished the night with 453 total yards, including 248 on 25 carries. Tim Fitzgerald led the way with 102 yards on seven rushes.
"They attack from every angle and they have been a real threat all year," Crane said of the Wildcats. " They're a very well-rounded football team. You got to give Coach Dedman and his staff a lot of credit. They bit the bullet last year playing some of their young players, and now they've grown up. They've really got things rolling and they're going to be a tough game for some people down the stretch."
Coming out of halftime, Roundtree faked a handoff and swept down the left sideline untouched for his 47-yard touchdown which put Central up 38-0 and started the clock running continuously for the mercy rule.
But Wilson Central went for it on fourth down near midfield on the Wildcats' next possession and were stopped with Crutchfield recovering a fumble. Taye Davis rolled 27 yards to the Central 14 and Crutchfield plowed over three plays later to stop the clock.
But Roundtree got the clocking going again and wrapped up his night with a 73-yard strike to Lea behind the Blue Devil secondary.
Lebanon finished with 150 rushing yards on 42 carries. Davis finished with 50 yards on seven calls and Copas, described by Crane as the Blue Devils' best tackler at outside linebacker, 41 on 12 rushes.
Both teams will hit the road for non-District 9-AAA games next Friday. Lebanon will travel to Cookeville while Central goes to Franklin to take on Centennial. Both kickoffs will be at 7 p.m.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at email@example.com