WILLIAMSBURG – Glendale’s first game under new head coach Spank Trexler turned out to be a bit of a nail-biter.
The Vikings dominated the stat sheet, but midway through the fourth quarter, Williamsburg was down just six and had the ball at the Glendale 16.
Seth Dudurich snuffed out the Blue Pirates’ rally with an interception, and Tristan Rutter ripped off a 76-yard touchdown run on the next play to help the Vikings knock off Williamsburg 26-14 Friday night at Veterans Memorial Field.
Rutter finished with 142 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and Dudurich ran for 121 yards on 14 carries. Cory Johnston added 84 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. He was also on the receiving end of a 22-yard touchdown pass from QB Garret Misiura.
The Vikings dominated both lines. The team’s big, bruising backs running behind a big offensive line rolled up 374 yards rushing while limiting Williamsburg to just 30 yards rushing and 125 yards of total offense.
“We try to wear the other team down,” Trexler said. “We are blessed with a lot of size on the line and in the backfield. We have a lot of wrestlers that like the physical part of it and gives us a very punishing style. We were a little one-dimensional (Friday). If we want to be successful down the road, we’ll have to put the ball in the air a little more.”
Johnston’s touchdown catch was the team’s lone completion of the night.
Lambert Palmer made a nifty, leaping interception of a Misiura pass on the first play of the second half and he threw a pair of incompletions with the team buried deep in their own end in the fourth quarter.
“We tried to be aggressive coming out of our end zone. Our special teams had given up a couple big plays earlier so we didn’t really want to punt from deep in our own end,” Trexler said. “Garret didn’t play last year. He stepped in and did a nice job running the offense.
The Vikings did have to punt, however, and Jahmarea Wansley’s 14-yard return gave Williamsburg the ball at the Glendale 16.
Dudurich’s interception on the next play quickly turned the momentum back in Glendale’s favor.
“We hit the slant a couple times earlier, and we were trying to hit again there. It was just an overthrow. It’s a play we wish we could have back,” Williamsburg coach Ryan Hileman said. “We weathered the turnovers up to that point, but that one kind of broke our backs.”
Glendale won the turnover battle five to one. The Vikings recovered three Williamsburg fumbles and intercepted two passes.
Senior center Tim Williams recovered two of the fumbles.
“Tim is like an assistant coach on the field. He made a couple plays that really picked us up,” Trexler said. “He does everything we ask of him. He’s a leader not only on the field but in the locker room and on the sidelines as well. Everybody rallies behind him.”
Glendale fell behind 6-0 25 seconds into the game. After Wansley returned the opening kickoff 77-yards, Adam Uplinger found Wes McCall open in the slot for an 8-yard touchdown pass on the team’s first offensive snap of the season.
The Vikings answered with a long drive that culminated in Johnston’s 22-yard TD catch on 4th-and-6 for a 7-6 lead then increased it to 14-6 in the second quarter when Rutter outraced the defense to the left pylon for a 1-yard score.
After Misiura’s interception to open the second half, Glendale got back two plays later on an Austen Clarkson fumble recovery.
Johnston’s 8-yard TD run capped a 10-play, 60-yard drive for a 20-6 lead.
Williamsburg immediately got back to within one score, however, when Wansley ripped off a 60-yard touchdown run on the first play following the ensuing kickoff.
Wansley finished with 212 all-purpose yards. The 5-foot-10 junior had 62 yards rushing, 38 yards receiving, 21 yards passing and 91 return yards.
“We knew he was a good athlete coming in. He’s very instinctive. Tough to tackle. When he gets the ball anything can happen,” Trexler said.
Glendale hosts Bellwood-Antis on Aug. 30.