Whitewater crushes Starr's Mill 35-7

Fri, 10/19/2007 - 10:19pm
By: Kevin Wandra
The annual Whitewater-Starr’s Mill game has quickly become one of the biggest rivalries in the state.

Last season, in the first-ever varsity game between the two county rivals, Whitewater had to come from behind to defeat Starr’s Mill.

The two teams met in a rematch Friday, but the game never lived up to the hype as Whitewater scored 28 points in the first quarter en route to a convincing 35-7 victory over visiting Starr’s Mill in a key Region 2-AAAA clash.

The victory was Whitewater’s fifth straight, and, more important, keeps the Wildcats (6-2, 5-1 in the region) in second place in the region. The loss was damaging for Starr’s Mill (3-4, 2-3 in the region), which fell to sixth place in the region.

Whitewater pounced on Starr’s Mill early, with Austin Faulkner taking a toss sweep 90 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown on the first play of Whitewater’s second series.

Then Whitewater’s opportunistic defense took over, forcing turnovers on three consecutive series, all of which led to touchdowns in the first quarter.

"We got some breaks that helped us out early on," Whitewater coach Amos McCreary said. "You know when you get some breaks and the momentum is going your way, it's hard to be stopped, especially in a rivalry game. Things are starting to click for us. I think the biggest thing is that we're starting to play with a lot of confidence."

Thomas Richard gave Whitewater the ball back on the first play of Starr’s Mill’s second series, diving on the ball on the Starr’s Mill 17-yard line after he strip-sacked Starr’s Mill quarterback Miles Jaye (26-for-38, 229 yards passing), who was making only his second career varsity start.

The turnover led to Whitewater’s second touchdown, a 6-yard run by Thomas Frierson on a toss sweep off left tackle.

Whitewater's rushing attack was potent; 293 of the team's 392 yards of total offense came on the ground. Faulkner (eight carries, 118 yards) and Frierson (19 carries, 114 yards) did most of their damage outside the tackles.

"Faulkner and Frierson are both pretty quick kids," McCreary said. "We knew it was going to be tough to hammer it up inside Starr's Mill defense. We figured if we had a chance to do anything, it might be outside."

Two plays into Starr’s Mill’s next possession, Jaye and running back Spencer Penson botched a handoff, and Whitewater linebacker Zac Mann recovered the fumble on the Starr’s Mill 12-yard line.

Whitewater quarterback David Byrd hit Jack Grove in stride on a quick slant for a 10-yard touchdown two plays later.

Byrd’s quick pass to C.J. Williams in the end zone for a two-point conversion made it 21-0 with 3:26 left in the first quarter.

Starr’s Mill made another costly mistake on its next drive — Chris Asbury intercepted a pass by Jaye and returned it 30 yards, high-stepping into the end zone to complete a 28-point first quarter for Whitewater. It was the first of two interceptions for Asbury.

"We were so pumped for this game," Asbury said. "As soon as the lights came on, we were prepared and ready to go. We knew it was going to be a tough fight. We just came out and played Whitewater football."

Chase Penland took the ball on a reverse and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Morgan — his first touchdown catch of the season — in the third quarter for Whitewater’s final score.

An 8-yard touchdown pass from Jaye to Justin Smith with 34.6 seconds remaining in the third quarter was Starr’s Mill’s lone touchdown against Whitewater’s tenacious defense, which forced four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions) and held the Panthers to minus-6 yards rushing.

"Whitewater pretty much sealed our fate in the first 10 minutes," Starr's Mill coach Mike Earwood said. "Their kids wanted to beat us more than our kids wanted to beat them. We're a young team, but that's no excuse. We have to play better and not turn the ball over so much."

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