EAST BEND — Coming into the fifth week of high school football, the East Wilkes Cardinals and the Forbush Falcons were both looking for another win before their respective conferences start next week. For the Cardinals, things definitely went their way as they dominated the Falcons, 45-7.
“I thought we played well and we beat a good football team,” said East Wilkes head coach J.K. Adkins. “We were hitting on all cylinders; offense, defense, and special teams played well. I’m really pleased with our execution level.”
In the first half things immediately went East Wilkes’ way as it scored on three of its first four drives of the game. Joah Logan got things started for the Cardinals as he made a 52-yard pass reception from quarterback, Bryce Vestal. Logan was brought down on the 15-yard line, which gave the Cardinals a chance to score the first touchdown of the night courtesy of Jayveon Ross. Ross took the ball in for a 15-yard carry to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead with 8:15 left in the first quarter.
On the Cardinals’ next possession, Vestal found Jared Wood in the end-zone for a six-yard touchdown pass to give East Wilkes a 13-0 lead. Forbush tried to battle back on its next carry, but the Cardinals defense stood strong to make the Falcons punt. When East Wilkes got the ball back with 7:29 left in the half, it made the most of its play calling as it scored another touchdown. Ross got the play going as he carried the ball for 25 yards to get the Cardinals in Forbush territory. Devin Couch took a hand-off from Vestal to take the ball to the eight-yard line, before Ross took the ball in for his second touchdown run of the night. The Cardinals decided to test the Falcons, as they went for a two-point conversion. Carlos Aquino saw an opening in the Falcons defense, and took the ball in to give East Wilkes a 21-0 lead.
Just as it looked like the Falcons were losing all their momentum, quarterback Jackson Cooper decided to take the game into his own hands as he came up with a 61-yard carry on the Falcons’ next drive. Cooper then decided to take the ball the rest of the way himself, as he scored the Falcons’ first, and only, touchdown of the night with an 11-yard run to cut East Wilkes’ lead 21-7. Zane Johnson had a few carries for the Falcons, but not as many as he usually accumulates, and that was courtesy of the East Wilkes defense.
“Our biggest thing was that we knew if (Johnson) got ahead of us that we would have a hard time bringing him down. He’s a strong kid,” said Adkins. “We wanted to get him outside of the tackle box and make him run down the sideline a little bit and give our guys a chance to run him down. I thought we played very physical on defense and we did what we had planned.”
During the second half, the Cardinals put the game out of Forbush’s reach by scoring on three straight possessions. Damien Reid scored the first touchdown of the half with an eight-yard run to make the score 28-7. During their next possession, Couch found open space which he used to his advantage as he found a first-down for the Cardinals with a 26-yard run. Vestal then found a wide open Jessie Aquilar in the end-zone for a two-yard pass which gave the Cardinals a 35-7 lead.
In the fourth quarter, although the Cardinals had a comfortable lead over the Falcons, they were not done scoring. Couch found a hole in the Falcons defense and ran the ball for an 80-yard touchdown to firmly put the game out of Forbush’s reach with a 42-7 score. With 2:29 left in the game, the Cardinals put up another few points, this time courtesy of Aquino who made his first field goal of the season with a 26-yard kick. Aquino’s kick gave the Cardinals a 45-7 win, and a winning momentum going in to their first conference game next week against North Wilkes.
“We’re sitting at 3-1, but I told our guys to erase that, close that chapter and start a new one. Everyone is 0-0 right now and we have a big game right off the bat,” said Adkins. “North Wilkes is very good, they’re very well coached, they’re strong and physical. It outta be a dandy next Friday. I think our league right now is one where anyone can emerge, we just have to take the next step next week.”
Kristian Russell can be reached at 336-258-4052 or on Twitter @YadkinElkSports.