SYRACUSE — It’s easier said than done for teams and athletes to take things one game at a time. The focus for Wawasee head coach Josh Ekovich this offseason was to get his players to set their sights on being 1-0, every week, all season. While the season is still very young, everything is going according to plan. The Warriors, 13-0 winners last week, moved to 2-0 Friday night with a 48-7 stomping of West Noble.
The Green and Gold switched things up for the game, wearing black jerseys for their annual “Black Out Night” and left the Chargers black and blue in what ended up being a total mismatch between the two teams.
Cole VanLue got things started in a big way on the second play of the game as he took a sweep play 76 yards for the score. With 11:23 to play in the first quarter, Wawasee was already getting fired up. The defense forced a West Noble punt which set the Warriors up with a very short field. Tyler Smith capped the team’s second possession off with a five-yard run. Now it was suddenly 14-0 in favor of the Warriors with 7:11 left in the first.
West Noble was forced to punt on its second possession and the Warriors wasted no time taking advantage of that. Smith his Alec Rosbrugh for a 62-yard touchdown pass. With 5:08 left in the first, it was now 21-0 Wawasee. Will Geer recovered a fumble on the ensuing drive for the home team which set up a 27-yard scoring run from Smith. A missed extra point left Wawasee with a 27-0 advantage with 4:17 to go in the first.
VanLue started the scoring in the quarter, so it only made sense for him to end the scoring as well. The senior, on a pitch play, went 54 yards for the score this time. After one quarter Wawasee led 34-0. VanLue finished the game with 128 yards rushing, tied for the team lead with Smith.
The Warriors held a 41-0 advantage at the break following a 15-yard touchdown run from Noah Wadkins. It was the offensive game that Ekovich and his staff have been waiting for the past two years with their flexbone based offense. The experience in the system appears to be playing a role with the team, but the attitude of the players is making the biggest difference in Ekovich’s eyes.
“I told the boys that the biggest thing was I wanted them coming out, every week, going full bore, no matter who we lined up across from,” Ekovich stated. “It felt good to see them rise to that occasion tonight because, in past years, that wasn’t always the case. We were ready to go tonight.”
There was no doubting the preparedness of the Warriors in Friday’s game. Wawasee totaled 499 yards from scrimmage. While Smith and VanLue both totaled over 100 yards on the ground, Aaron Evans, Paul Mendoza, Raymon Torres, Noah Wadkins and Michael Katzer each eclipsed double-digit rushing yards on multiple carries.
Smith scored Wawasee’s final touchdown of the night on a 17-yard run with 7:56 to play in the third. West Noble broke up the shutout in the fourth quarter with a three-yard run from Brandon Pruitt.
Defensively Wawasee was led in tackles by five tackles from Wadkins. Katzer, Torres and Gavin Barker all had three tackles. Dylan Hepler had two interceptions for the Warriors while Rosbrugh recorded one of his own. Wawasee forced four turnovers and committed one.
Wawasee will host Northridge in the Northern Lakes Conference opener for both teams next Friday. The goal remains the same for the Warriors, go 1-0.
“It’s the same goal for next week and every week,” explained Ekovich. “We’re going to focus on getting better individually, getting better as a team and focusing on our craft. We’ll come out working as hard as we can. Like always, the chips will fall where they may and we’ll see what happens.”