MANSFIELD – In front of a national television audience and a large homecoming crowd, the visiting North Webster Knights sent a message that district 1-3A is their’s for the taking with a dominant 48-6 road triumph.
Coming into Thursday’s game, the Knights were concerned with the Wolverines size up front and
Jaylin Wilson’s playmaking ability at quarterback.
Neither proved to be very effective against the three-headed backfield monster of Devin White,
Jalen Smith and T.J. Hawthorne, or a ballhawking Knights defense led by White and fellow linebackers, Blake Atchley and Ke’Untra Gipson.
“It was a big win,” North Webster head coach John Ware said. “We were ready to play tonight and jumped on them from the start. Our kids played agressive and excited tonight.”
North Webster received to start the game and was forced to punt after gaining one first down on their opening possession. The Knight’s defense responded with Rico Gonzalez coming up with a fumble recovery on a botched snap, and on the next play White went 20 yards untouched into the endzone to make it 7-0 Knights.
On Mansfield’s next offensive possession, Blake Atchley stepped in front of a Jaylin Wilson pass and darted around the left side into the endzone for a pick six that put North Webster on top, 14-0.
North Webster kept attacking, this time through the air, as Atchley capped another turnover-aided possession with a three-yard touchdown reception to make it 21-0.
The Wolverines, perhaps sensing the game slipping away, attempted a reverse on the ensuing kickoff, but the handoff was bobbled and the ball recovered by the Knights.
With another short field it didn’t take White long to find the endzone for his second touchdown of the night, this one a two-yard score.
Quarterback Cameron Huff tossed his second touchdown of the night in the second quarter to sophomore T.J. Hawthorne to make the score 34-0, and after the fifth turnover of the half by Mansfield, White ended all homecoming hope with his third short touchdown of the night to make it 41-0.
“We’re finally gelling a little bit on offense,” Ware said. “You have to pick your poison and hopefully that will continue over the next few weeks.”
The second half was played with a running clock, and North Webster exited Mansfield with a victory that provides plenty of confidence heading into next week’s matchup with district 1-3A’s No. 2 team, Green Oaks.
“This is the time of the year to do it,” Ware said. “We’ve peaked this time of year in the past and I hope we’re getting ready to do that again. Tonight was certainly a great start.”
Wide receiver Wesley Franklin, the Knights leading receiver, went down with an apparent ankle injury in the first quarter. Ware certainly hopes his 6’4” playmaker will be okay going forward, but isn’t sure of the severity as of now.
“I’m not real sure what the deal is right now,” Ware said. “We’re hopeful it’s just an ankle sprain.”