Wakefield captured its first home win of the season Friday, as the Wolverines continued to grow as a young team, led by sophomore quarterback Matt McKay.
McKay threw for two touchdowns and ran in one to help the Wolverines top Southeast Raleigh, 27-6.
“The biggest thing is we’ve got confidence in our quarterback,” Wakefield coach Rod Sink said. “Last week we threw some long passes, but we weren’t really working any underneath stuff and tonight he was able to get some slants and hit some pitches. I think that was probably the biggest thing. He’s trying to work his way into learning the offense, and it’s really starting to show up a little bit. We’re not where we want to be, not even close, but we’ll get there.”
Wakefield (2-1) got on the board first and controlled the game throughout despite turning the ball over on the Southeast 1-yard line after being stalled on four straight plays in the red zone during its second drive. The Wolverines recovered to force a safety on the ensuing Bulldogs possession, and followed that up with a McKay-to-Marius Cooper 4-yard touchdown connection less than a minute later to take a 9-0 lead to end the first quarter.
The Bulldogs (1-3) scored on a Dylan Parham keeper from 14-yards out in the second quarter, but the point-after attempt was blocked. The touchdown would be the only Southeast score of the game, as the Bulldogs offense struggled to find consistency for long stretches.
“Our bye week couldn’t come at a better time,” Southeast coach Mike Thibodeau said. “Right now, we can go into conference play 0-0. We’ve got seven games remaining. We can start out and prep. We were a little banged up tonight, so we can heal up and it’s just going to be about consistency in terms of that we can do on offense.
“Even thought the score didn’t show it, with six points, we had a lot of improvements tonight. Our line jelled a lot better with a lot more holes for our backs, but unfortunately with the score it took us out of our game plan ... It’s coming. It’s just a couple of things hurt us here and there and derailed drives.”
Parham showed flashes of big plays, leading the Bulldogs with 17 carries for 101 yards and 121 yards in the air on 13 of 28 passing before going down in the fourth quarter with what Thibodeau thought might be a bruised knee. Malik Ford led the Southeast receiving core with 63 yards on five receptions.
Despite the lopsided score, Southeast’s defense came up with several big plays, forcing Wakefield to leave points on the field throughout the game.
McKay kept it for a 10-yard TD midway through the second and Ronnie Procopio ran in the two-point conversion to give the Wolverines some additional cushion, but the home team forced passes late in the first half, turning over the ball on interceptions on Wakefield’s final two possessions before the break.
“He’s a sophomore. He’s learning and getting better,” Sink said of McKay. “Our goal is for Matt to play a little better every week, and he’s going to make some mistakes, but that young man is going to be a good one.”
Wakefield led 17-6 at the half and tacked on a Charlie Morris 25-yard field goal and McKay-to-Jeremy Massenberg 55-yard touchdown strike to round out the Wolverines scoring.
McKay finished with 199 yards on 11 of 24 passes and added 64 yards on eight carries. Cooper and Massenberg hauled in 91 and 63 receiving yards on three and two catches, respectively, and Kelton Whitehead tacked on 42 ground yards on 13 carries.
Wakefield travels to Middle Creek next week, while Southeast has a bye week before opening Greater Neuse River Conference play at Rolesville on Sept. 26.