FISHERSVILLE — Wilson Memorial scored three touchdowns in a span of 5:07 during the late stages of the second quarter Friday night to break a scoreless battle as the Green Hornets opened the 2019 high school football season with a 41-0 victory over the rival Waynesboro Little Giants in a nondistrict clash.
Cobey Rothgeb and Skylar Whiting sparked the offensive charge for the Hornets as each rushed for over 100 yards and combined for five touchdowns. Rothgeb scored twice, while rushing for 109 yards on only five carries and caught two passes for another 65 yards. Whiting had 144 yards on the ground and tallied twice.
Whiting’s performance came in a reserve role when starter Maurice Johnson went down with an ankle injury with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
“That is the importance of the next man up,” Wilson Memorial High Head Coach Jeremiah Major said. “You never know when your number is going to be called. That is why the coaching staff makes sure in practice all the guys are ready.”
Despite what turned out to a lopsided score, Wilson had to battle through a slow start on the offensive side.
“Our lack of experience contributed some to the slow start,” Major said. “We only have three guys back on offense that saw ample playing time last season. We made some mistakes, and have to learn to fight through them.”
Before the late eruption, the Hornets had two potential scoring drives thwarted in Waynesboro territory. On Wilson’s first possession of the season, the Giants’ defense dropped Dajor Carter for a 4-yard loss at Waynesboro’s 45 on a fourth-and-4 play. On the Hornets’ next possession, they fumbled the ball away at Waynesboro’s 45 where Jose Ruiz jumped on the loose ball.
But Waynesboro’s offense couldn’t take advantage of the breaks, and the Hornets finally made the Giants pay.
Following a punt to Wilson’s 14, the Hornets embarked on a 12-play scoring drive. Rothgeb, who ripped off a 39-yard run on third-and-15 to keep the march alive, scored on a 15-yard scamper with 5:36 left in the first half. The PAT missed wide right.
The Hornets were right back in business after forcing a three-and-out, getting the ball at their own 40. On the first play, Kaden Welcher hit Rothgeb with a screen pass that turned into a 46-yard gain to Waynesboro’s 14. Two plays later, Carter scored on a 1-yard run. Ryan Ingersoll’s PAT increased the lead to 13-0 with 1:55 left.
“We want to mix it up more on offense,” said Major of the successful passing attack. “We want to make more plays in space, which we accomplished tonight.”
Waynesboro gift-wrapped Wilson’s third TD, fumbling the ball away at the 26, which Darren Swanson recovered.
Rothgeb hauled in a 19-yard scoring strike from Welcher on the second play after the miscue. Ingersoll’s PAT opened a 20-0 advantage with 29.5 seconds on the clock.
“We made some adjustments in the first quarter, and once we did, success came our way,” Major said. “Our offense goes as our offensive line goes.”
It didn’t get any better for the Giants in the second half.
Waynesboro put together its best drive of the game, taking the kickoff and marching to Wilson’s 26 before two incomplete passes turned the ball over on downs. On the first play, Rothgeb broke off a 74-yard scoring romp.
On Wilson’s next possession, Whiting covered 58 yards in three runs, the last from 3 yards for the score and a 34-0 margin with 3:01 left in the third quarter.
Whiting capped the scoring assault less than two minutes into the final period with a 33-yard run.
The defeat was the 12th straight for Waynesboro, dating back to a playoff loss that ended the 2017 season.
The Giants are battling youth and inexperience in order to get the ship righted again.
“Execution is the key to success, and we are not close,” Waynesboro High Head Coach Shawn Marion said. “A lot of these kids never played a varsity game until tonight.
“We were in a rock fight for most of the first half, and I thought it could have been 6-0 at the break,” he said. “Wilson capitalized on our mistakes and stepped on our throats. I think the kids’ heads started buzzing during that five-minute span. Some of it was lack of confidence. We don’t have a lot of margin for error.”
Wilson (1-0) travels to former Shenandoah District foe Luray next Friday. The Hornets will not be home again until Oct. 4, against Turner Ashby for their homecoming.
“We will be road warriors,” Major said. “We are just focused on the next game on the schedule.”
Waynesboro (0-1) hosts U.S. 340 rival Stuarts Draft.
Waynesboro 0 0 0 0 — 0
Wilson 0 20 14 7 — 41
WM — Rothgeb 15 run (kick failed)
WM — Carter 1 run (Ingersoll kick)
WM — Rothgeb 19 pass from Welcher (Ingersoll kick)
WM — Rothgeb 74 run (Ingersoll kick) WM — Whiting 3 run (Ingersoll kick)
WM — Whiting 33 run (Ingersoll kick)