Villains deliver in all phases
Bishop McGuinness boosted its confidence high with a strong all-around performance.
A week after nearly tipping the other direction, the Villains struck hard on both offense and defense in beating Wheatmore 42-0 on Friday night in Villains Stadium.
On offense, Bishop (3-1) ran the ball with authority, connected on well-timed passing plays and scored on six of their eight possessions. Plus, on defense, it shut down the Warriors (0-4), who finished without any really dangerous scoring threats.
“I thought, clearly, that was our most complete effort,” said Villains coach Charlie Jones, whose team rallied in the second half last week to beat Alleghany. “We were the better team, but I didn’t expect that. I could tell they were struggling, being 0-3, but I thought we were maybe 14 or 17 points better. I’ll have to look at the film, but I felt like we played well. ...
“I think it does speak to staying the course,” he said of the last game and a half. “You just have to believe in what you’re doing and keep plugging away. I know we have good kids, and I know they work hard. Nick Saban says the worst thing you can do is play bad and win. It’s always hard to swallow, but it might be a situation where we look back and say it got our attention.”
Bishop, from the start, dictated the game. With five legitimate running threats, it ran 10 times on the opening possession and took a 7-0 lead five minutes in on Greg Salomon’s 1-yard touchdown. Salomon finished with two TDs and 101 yards rushing to lead the running game for Bishop.
Joe McNamara, in a solid all-around performance, also had 79 yards rushing plus two TDs and 96 yards receiving. Quarterback Andrew Rowley threw only four times, but all three completions were to McNamara — including TDs of 25 yards in the second and a 54-yard bomb in the third.
“We just tried to stay focused,” said Salomon, a senior who plays safety. “Communication was the key. Everyone just played really well. ... We just told our line to keep their composure, keep blocking and all the running backs did their job following the pulls. We did pretty well. We were just following their linebackers, watching how they blitz and just following the hole from there.”
The Villains finished with 286 yards on the ground and 96 in the air for 382 total yards. Rowley and Kable Young also each had a rushing TD. On the other side, they limited Wheatmore to just 42 yards rushing and 17 yards passing for 59 total yards.
The Warriors, who got a second-half offensive spark from Hunter Sheets, have been a work in progress to start the year. Under first-year coach Jason Bear Bradley, they’re doing many things differently than they had been. And unfortunately they’re doing them against a difficult schedule.
They’ve also changed quarterbacks early in the season (sophomore Paul Walker is now the starter), and they’ve dealt with injuries, like running back Brayton Hardin’s concussion suffered Friday. So, their challenge is to remain patient in building.
“Right now, we’re at a point where we’re having to start over,” Bradley said. “We have the toughest schedule this school’s ever had, and we’re just playing and trying to get better. There are sometimes fundamentals that were left behind, and we have to go back and teach. We’ve got five seniors, and I hate it for those guys. They’re trying as hard as they can, and they’re great guys who will continue to fight.
“I just keep telling these guys is to keep loving one another, keep fighting because eventually we’re going to get to where we need to be. Anytime you’re rebuilding you’re sitting there and hoping. But I can’t say anything about their work ethic. There are some things we need to work on — we’ve got to get stronger in the weight room. So, we’ve got to keep working, and we want to turn it around.”
Both teams play again next week, with Bishop visiting South Stokes, and Wheatmore hosting East Davidson.