By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – Whiteford receiver Hunter DeBarr knew the play would work, all he had to do was catch the pass.
With the first half clock showing :00, DeBarr got behind all of the Sand Creek defenders and caught a game-changing, 23-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the first half of Friday’s showdown of top 10 teams, which the Bobcats went on to win, 58-30.
“We knew it was going to be wide open because their safety was biting hard,” DeBarr said. “I ran down the field wide open and caught the ball. I had to make sure I was in the end zone.
“We knew it was going to work again,” DeBarr said. “(Whiteford head coach Jason) Mensing told us we were going to score on it, and we did.”
Mensing made the call about three plays earlier after basically drawing it up in the dirt. His team had never ran that particular combination of routes and scheme.
“That route combination is something I’ve never ran in my career,” Mensing said. “We saw it on the field and wanted to take advantage of it. I talked to our kids earlier in the drive, maybe three players prior. I said we were going to run it. I wanted to save it until we needed it.”
The play was made even more important when Whiteford took the second half kickoff and scored on the fourth play of the second half to go up 36-22.
“I think that’s the biggest thing in football,” Mensing said. “I think its huge. If you are able to score going into half, then score coming out, that’s a 14-point swing. Our opponent did it to us last week and we lost. I think that’s a huge shift in the game.”
The Bobcats ended up scoring six straight touchdowns to pile up more than 507 yards of total offense and 58 points on the Aggies, who came into the game ranked No. 7.
The Bobcats gained confidence as the game went on. It was an outstanding effort in beating Sand Creek, who came into the game having not lost on the field this year. It’s only loss had been a week two forfeit due to COVID.
“Going into the locker room with the lead was huge,” DeBarr said. “Our confidence was through the roof at that point. We knew we had the ball to start the second half. It helped immensely.”
Ruddy is in his third year as the Bobcat starting quarterback and had one of his biggest performances with 116 yards rushing and 147 yards passing. He threw for three scores and ran for one, including the 50-yard run early in the third quarter.
Several Bobcats had outstanding nights.
Cole Giesige scored twice and ran for 76 yards. He caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Ruddy in the second quarter. Luis Trejo rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown. Jake Iott rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown and led the Whiteford defense with nine stops. Jack Andrews caught two passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. Levi Hillard had eight tackles.
“If we are going to be any good, that’s what we have to have,” Mensing said. “Good teams have lots of guys. A lot of guys made big plays tonight.”
The defense limited Sand Creek’s John Alexander to 111 yards rushing. He came into the game averaging more than 215 yards a game.
“They have a great offense,” Mensing said. “I was very pleased with our defense. We played really well.”
Whiteford, ranked No. 5 in Division 8 by the Associated Press coming into the week, improved to 4-1 on the season. The Aggies are 3-2.
Whiteford 58, Sand Creek 30
S – George Hillard 1 run (John Alexander run)
W – Jack Andrews 23 pass from Shea Ruddy (Jake Iott run)
S – Braedon Nichelson 31 run (Tylan Waltz pass from Hillard)
W – Cole Giesige 1 run (Ruddy run)
S – Hillard 3 run (pass failed)
W – Giesige 38 pass from Ruddy (run failed)
W – Hunter DeBarr 23 pass from Ruddy (run failed)
W – Ruddy 50 run (Ruddy run)
W – Iott 1 run (pass failed)
W – Luis Trejo 2 run (Ruddy run)
W – DeBarr 30 run (Ryin Ruddy pass from Bo Mensing)
S – Hillard 37 run (Hillard run)
RUSHING – Sand Creek: Alexander 17-111, Hillard 11-52, Pifer 5-21, Nichelson 3-31, Riddle 2-8, Castleberry 1-9. Totals 39-232. Whiteford: S. Ruddy 11-116, Giesige 18-76, Trejo 8-63, Iott 9-40, Hillard 4-30, DeBarr 1-30, Knaggs 3-6, Team 1-(minus)-1. Total 55-360.
PASSING – Sand Creek: George Hillard 5-10-0 106 yards. Whiteford: Ruddy 6-12-0 147 yards.
RECEIVING – Sand Creek: Waltz 2-65, Pifer 3-31. Whiteford: Andrews 2-57, Giesige 2-53, DeBarr 1-23, T. Ruddy 1-14.