FISHERSVILLE — The Turner Ashby Knights spoiled homecoming for Wilson Memorial High School in nondistrict football again Friday night, 42-21.
The game marked the first home game for the Green Hornets since their season opener in August.
It was the running of TA senior Grant Swinehart, with five touchdowns, that proved to be the unstoppable force in the contest.
The visitors took control of the ball on their own 45 in their opening series after a Green Hornet punt. On the fifth play of that series, Swinehart ran the ball down to the Wilson 11. On the next play quarterback C. J. Haskins pitched the ball to Swinehart who scampered into the endzone. Marini Spirollari split the uprights to put the Knights up 7-0 with 8:17 left in the period.
The Knights scored again late in the quarter when Swinehart intercepted a Hornet pass on the Wilson three-yard line. The senior then switched to offense and ran the ball in for the score on the next play. The kick was again good and TA led 14-0 with 2:53 remaining in the first quarter.
Wilson’s Kaden Welcher then fielded the ensuing kickoff on the nine-yard-line and raced to the Horent 30. On the next play, Cobey Rothgeb broke loose for a 70-yard sprint into the endzone. Ryan Ingersoll was good on the PAT to make it 14-7 with 2:26 remaining in the quarter.
Not to be outdone, on the first play after the kickoff, Swinehart took the handoff and outraced the Hornet defense for a 65-yard score. The kick was good and TA held a 21-7 lead with 2:26 still remaining in the opening period.
After a failed Wilson field goal attempt to open the second quarter, the Knights needed just four plays to score again at the 10:19 mark. The TD came when Haskins hit Nico Valle on a 42-yard strike. The kick was again good to make it 28-7.
The visitors scored again with 6:21 remaining in the half when Swinehart took the handoff and scampered 45 yards along the right sideline for the TD. Spirollari’s kick put the visitors in front 35-7 with 6:21 left in the half.
Wilson lit up the scoreboard again with less than a minute left in the period. After taking over on downs, the Green Hornets needed just four plays for Welcher to find Rothgeb for a 57-yard score. Ingersoll was again on target to send Wilson into the locker room trailing 35-14.
Wilson made it a ballgame in the second half. A fired-up defense held the visitors scoreless in the third quarter and, with 3:26 left in the period, Rothgeb capped off a six-play series with a four-yard run up the middle. The kick was good and Wilson trailed 35-21.
That was the last Hornet score of the evening. The Knights were able to pad their lead with 7:05 remaining in the final period. With the Knights on the Wilson 11-yard line, Swinehart high stepped into the end zone for his fifth touchdown of the night. Spirollari kicked the sixth extra point to make the final 42-21.
“The kids did a good job tonight,” TA coach Chris Fraser said. “I am proud of the guys,” he added.
He particularly pointed to the defensive play of Addison Simmons and the offensive play of Swinehart.
“Addison was flying all over the place making tackles. Grant is a heck of a player and had been such a good back for us for two-and-a-half years,” he added. The Knights, now 4-1, host Broadway for homecoming next week.
Wilson Memorial coach Jeremiah Major saw some bright spots in his team’s defense, but admitted to being disappointed with the loss.
“We have got to play a whole game. We get in a hole in the first half and then come out in the second half and play well, but it is not enough. Eventually we will put a whole game together. It is nice to be home after being on the road, but I was looking for better results tonight,” he said.
The Hornets fall to 1-4 and host county rival Riverheads next Friday.
Rothgeb led the Hornets offense for the night with 100 yards on 17 carries and two TDs. Dajor Carter had 74 yards on 11 carries. As a team the Hornets had 153 yards rushing and 166 yards of kickoff return yardage. The leading tackler for Wilson was Trent Gruver who had 13 tackles. Darren Swanson recovered two fumbles for Wilson.