Saturday September 22, 2012

DALTON -- Eli Pease was quick to praise the Wahconah Regional line that enabled him to break the 100-yard mark for the second time in three weeks and shut down the Drury offense.

"It's a great win," said Pease after Wahconah shut out Drury 28-0 Friday night. "Our offensive line was amazing. Our defense was absolutely solid."

The Wahconah defense held Drury to 104 total yards on 41 plays. Wahconah had 43 offensive plays and had 317 yards in total offense. Pease outgained Drury himself, carrying the ball 20 times for 165 yards, a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

The Wahconah defense also forced five turnovers. Three of the turnovers led to Warrior touchdowns and the fourth came after holding Drury on downs in the fourth quarter.

"The game plan was to have the better front seven," said Wahconah's Jordan Fiske. "If we could slow down [Jose] Melendez and get our front seven going ... we'd have the win."

Wahconah coach Gary Campbell Jr. was much happier after this game than he was following the win last week against Pittsfield. The veteran coach said it was the most complete game his team played on both sides of the football.

There is, he said, room to grow.

"We're still making some mistakes here and there and we're still doing things we can improve on, and that shows some of our youthfulness," Campbell said. "We're right where we should be and right where we want to be."

Wahconah may have made some mistakes, including going for it unsuccessfully on fourth down at the Warrior 21, but those errors didn't cost them. Drury on the other hand, made a boatload in the first half and they were costly.

The Blue Devils had five turnovers in the opening 22 minutes, thanks to three Jake DiLego interceptions and two lost fumbles. Three of those turnovers led to Wahconah's 22 points.

"I don't care who you think you are, you can't turn the ball over to a good football team five times in the first half and expect to win," said Drury coach Bill Bryce. "The fact that it was only 22-0 was kind of miraculous."

The only thing the Blue Devils won was the coin flip. Drury started on its 30 and five plays later, DiLego's first pass of the game was intercepted by Grogan at midfield.

Pease ran for 10 yards on first down. From there, Grogan threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Fiske. Pease scored on the two-point conversion with just 3:13 gone. Grogan was 5 of 12 for 79 yards and two touchdowns. He was, however, 0 for 4 in the second half.

Melendez, who ran for 63 yards on 21 carries, fumbled on third-and-10 from the Wahconah 36. Ethan Wells recovered at the Warrior 48.

Eight plays, and two Wahconah penalties later, Grogan took off on a quarterback keeper, got behind the defense and took off down the left sideline for a 30-yard TD run. Grogan's two-point conversion pass wen to Brown, making it 16-0 as the first quarter ended.

"Those first two scores, I think, demoralized our team," said Melendez. "Our team is young, so they can get down pretty easily. I try to motivate them. We've got to move past this."