Trevor Morgan hauls in a pass before racing 42 yards for a score.
(Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)
By Christopher Dunn
The Whitewater Wildcats are not letting anyone stand between them and the region championship. On Friday night, the Wildcats handled the Starr's Mill Panthers 42-0 on their own turf.
The Wildcats dominated from the outset, rushing out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and 35-0 at halftime.
"We were hitting on all cylinders," said Whitewater head coach Amos McCreary. "It was all pretty much our way."
Whitewater was close to flawless in the first half, scoring touchdowns on five of their six first half drives. Their only scoreless drive ended with a missed 46 yard field goal attempt.
The missed field goal attempt came on the Wildcats first drive. It would be their lone misstep. The Wildcats defense laid the first blow, intercepting a pass on their first series. Josh Alexander reeled the pick in, setting up his offense at the Panther 24 yard line. Kendall Conley punched it in from 11 yards out to give the Cats an early 7-0 lead.
A Christian Wafford sack would kill the next Panther drive. The Cat offense wasted no time striking again. Quarterback Jay Ashley hit Trevor Morgan who made a leaping catch and then raced to the house for a 42 yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
The next time around it was the Cats other star receiver, Jake Carlson, making the big play. Carlson made a leaping snare of his own for 27 yards to get the ball down close. Conley did the rest with a 16 yard touchdown.
The second half of Whitewater's dynamic rushing attack, Christian Wafford, kept things rolling on the next series. Wafford picked up gains of 18 and 21 before scoring from 11 yards out to make it 28-0.
Conley set up the next score with a big punt return. Wafford did the honors with a 10 yard score for a 35-0 halftime lead.
Conley and Wafford were on fire, combining for four rushing touchdowns and 152 yards on just 19 carries.
"We've got a lot of weapons," McCreary said when asked about the dynamic duo.
Quarterback Jay Ashley had a big game of his own. Ashley has come a long way since the start of the season. Against Starr's Mill Ashley completed 5 of 7 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.
While the Whitewater offense grabbed headlines, their defense was truly special. In the first half, the Cat defense allowed just six yards of offense. For the game, they only allowed 76 total yards.
Conley started off the second half where he left off. After a Starr's Mill three and out, Conley corralled the punt, shook loose of defenders, and raced for a 68 yard return touchdown and a 42-0 lead.
From there, it was a matter of running down the clock and getting game experience for younger players.
Now, Whitewater sits at 8-1 with one regular season game remaining. They will host Ola this weekend. A victory will seal up the region championship.
Coach McCreary is pretty optimistic about his team with the postseason looming. "We're pretty healthy right now. I feel pretty good about our chances heading into the playoffs"