Big play day: Whitewater defeats Starr's Mill 28-7

Fri, 10/10/2008 - 10:37pm
By: Kevin Wandra

Thomas Frierson had a night that was fit for a king Friday.

Frierson ran 10 times for 154 yards and scored on runs of 44 and 94 yards, and his defensive teammates played their best game of the season in a 28-7 victory over the visiting Starr’s Mill Panthers in a Region 5A-AAAA game on Homecoming Night in Fayetteville.

Frierson’s long touchdown runs capped a night on which he was named Homecoming King at halftime and helped Whitewater (3-3, 1-1 region) end a three-game losing streak.

"This is the perfect night for me,” said Frierson, a running back. “I can’t tell you how happy I am right now. We won finally after losing three tough games.

“The offensive line played well. I just saw huge, gaping holes. We weren’t clicking in the first quarter. In the second quarter, we turned it on.”

Early in the second quarter, though, it was Starr’s Mill’s defense that made the first significant play.

Panthers cornerback Trenton Edwards, in tight man-to-man coverage, stepped in front of Whitewater wide receiver Tyler Morgan to intercept a telegraphed pass thrown by quarterback Chase Penland and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to hand Starr’s Mill (0-5, 0-2 region) a 7-0 lead.

After watching his offense fail to score a touchdown in the first quarter, Whitewater coach Amos McCready focused on placing the ball in the hands of his two fast and shifty running backs, Frierson and Josh Clemons, outside the tackles.

It was a wise move by McCreary.

Clemons and Frierson responded with two game-breaking touchdown runs in the second quarter to put Whitewater ahead for good.

Carrying the ball on a toss sweep off left tackle, Clemons (nine carries, 96 yards) saw an opening, cut back inside and darted down the middle of the field for a 66-yard touchdown run.

Clemons would separate his right shoulder on a carry in the third quarter and spend the rest of the game in tremendous pain on the Whitewater sideline.

Frierson took a pitch from Penland off right tackle and raced down the right sideline for a 44-yard touchdown run that put Whitewater in front 14-7 with 2:35 remaining in the first half.

“We said we were going to finally stop throwing it, put it in the athletes’ hands and see what they could do with it,” McCreary said. “We were counting on big plays. We have some good skill kids, and those running backs [Frierson and Clemons] are very good. We thought if we could get them out there and get them a crack, they could take it all the way. That’s pretty much what happened."

Whitewater exploited Starr’s Mill’s defense for big plays in the second half as well.

Frierson carried the ball on a toss sweep off right tackle, cut back across the field and outran Starr’s Mill’s defense down the left sideline for a 94-yard touchdown run with 4:33 left in the third quarter.

A 29-yard touchdown pass from Penland to Jeffrey Ashley over the middle, and a two-point conversion pass from running back Austin Faulkner to Zach Mann on the following play early in the fourth quarter completed the blowout.

Led by Frierson and Clemons, the Wildcats' high-powered offense compiled 396 total yards, with 344 coming on the ground.

Whitewater’s swarming defense also did its part.

Linebackers Mann (15 total tackles) and Davis Knowles (eight total tackles) and defensive ends Thomas Richard (four total tackles, one sack), who had Whitewater’s first interception of the season, and Chuck Servance (four total tackles, one sack, one pass break-up) led a Wildcats defense that consistently applied pressure to Starr’s Mill quarterbacks Myles Jaye and Adam Holley and stuffed the Panthers’ running game.

The Wildcats held Starr's Mill to 55 total yards of offense.

"We've got some issues in our offensive line," Starr's Mill coach Mike Earwood said. "We've also had a lot of injuries. Losing [wide receiver] Dan Ellis [last week to a season-ending knee injury] hurt; he's a difference-maker. Obviously, we have to improve on offense."

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Submitted by shadowvoice on Sun, 10/12/2008 - 12:01am.

I'm going to make a statement that may not be popular but needs to be said. Coach Earwood's time has come and gone. He seems to be a great guy but he is no longer making headway. Starr's Mill is in a steady and unmistakable decline while most of the other Fayette County programs are on the rise. Coach Earwood has won before but this seems different now somehow. I did not say he is a bad coach but I did say I think we need a new look and some fresh ideas about the direction of the football program. No one will talk about it so I will. Let's get it out there and see what you all think. I did not see anything close to a game plan Friday night at Whitewater. Change can be a good thing.

Submitted by winby1 on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 12:41pm.

Well you asked so I'm going to tell you!! For anyone to place any blame on Coach Earwood is simply ridiculous!! I don't know the man and don't have a son in that school (my two are at Whitewater) but that coach has done more with less for years and should get nothing but support for what he has done with that program!! When the Brooks kids were sent to Whitewater Stars Mill was doomed. He is the same coach but without the same talent. If you ask him he will agree with me I'm sure!! Look at McIntosh if you want to see the Stars Mill football programs future. Oh wait a minute? McIntosh has won 2 games this year!! Boy it seems just like yesterday when I heard all of that chest thumping?? Hey look at the bright side?? Ya'all have a good Soccer program.

Submitted by Split Decision on Sun, 10/12/2008 - 8:05am.

Shadowvoice, I'm going to join you out on that limb.

Last year's history-making 10 - 0 regular season and Regional Champ title for the Tiger football team were anomalies, at best. After watching years of Tiger football, the only difference in last year's team and all the others that have been coached by Coach Webb, is that particular group of players. Sure, they had two exceptionally talented players, but those two couldn't, and didn't, do it by themselves. It took many, many other players working TOGETHER to do what it took to defeat their challengers.

Change can be a very good thing. New ideas and attitudes can do wonders for a sports program.

Submitted by Spyglass on Sat, 10/11/2008 - 7:12am.

Anyone have it? Thanks in advance.

Submitted by Daniel Ross on Sat, 10/11/2008 - 1:18pm.

The Citizen had it on the front page last night around 11. While I'm on here, I would like to wish all Fayette County bands good luck in their competitions this October.
"Triangle Park"? Give me a break.
They should have fixed Shamrock first.

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