For football fans who long for the day when the sport was decided in the trenches rather than rules favoring the passing game, the place to be Friday night was Gregson Stadium on Sanderson’s campus.
Wakefield and Sanderson slugged it out for three scoreless quarters. Finally, Wakefield scored twice in the fourth quarter to take home a 13-0 victory in the conference opener for both schools.
“Our defensive line has some athletes that have been coached up,” said outside linebacker Andrew Bennett. “They would not be blocked tonight.”
Wakefield (5-1, 1-0 Cap 8, ranked No. 15 in the N&O poll) came into the contest averaging 23.7 points a game, while No.12 Sanderson (5-1, 0-1 Cap 8) was putting up 35.7.
Bennett, middle linebacker Tavin Sharp and outside linebacker Marcellus Spell benefited from the play of defensive linemen Matthew Watson, Zion Buie, Lucas Gooding and Levar Beale. They cleared paths to the football.
The game came down to two big fourth-quarter plays – one a fumble recovery by Bennett and a 56-yard touchdown run by Wakefield quarterback Matt McKay.
With the game scoreless Bennett blitzed and recovered a fumble to set up McKay’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Najeem Wilson.
Two series later McKay faked an inside reverse handoff and broke up the middle for a 56-yard touchdown gallop that put the Wolverines ahead 13-0 with 3:55 to play.
Bennett blitzed when Sanderson quarterback Justin Dunn was sacked for a 14-yard loss. He recovered the loose ball at the 4-yard line late in the third quarter. Two plays later, Wilson caught McKay’s pass in the left corner of the end zone with 11:05 remaining in the fourth quarter.
THREE TO KNOW
Matt McKay, Wakefield: The 6-foot-4, 190-pound dual-threat quarterback finished with 18 carries for 132 yards and one TD. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.
Andrew Bennett, Wakefield: The senior had two fumble recoveries. The second one was while the Wolverines were protecting a 6-0 lead and Sanderson drove to the Wakefield 5-yard line with 2:26 left in the game.
Jesse Williams, Sanderson: He made plays as both a punter and defensive back. He had two tackles for a loss of the elusive McKay. As a punter, he helped the Spartans flip the field with punts of 49 and 46 yards in the first half.
THEY SAID IT
“The play was flowing left and I bounced it up the middle,” McKay said of his scoring run. “I got some good blocks.”
BY THE NUMBERS
0/3: First downs by Sanderson in the first half; three for the game.
5: Times Sanderson punted in the first half with three inside the 20: 13, 18 and 11.
580/10: Season rushing yards for Sanderson’s Jordan Logan totaled in the first five games. He had 10 at halftime and 27 for the game.