In a old-school battle of potent rushing attacks that had playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Wilson scored on all three of its second-half possessions to take a 36-30 Moore League victory at Lakewood on Friday night.
Wilson (5-3, 3-1) is now in a second place tie with Millikan in league, and Lakewood (1-6, 1-2) falls into a fourth place tie. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Bruins have defeated the Lancers.
“Both sides played their hearts out,” Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen said. “We persevered and got through it. There was a lot of exhaustion at the end of that game. We just played our butts off and got a win.”
Wilson senior running back Marcos Nottingham took over for an injured Dillon Harris in the second quarter, and carried the Bruins to victory behind his offense line of Jakob Belton, Christian Conrad, Jaylen Ferrera, Terren Monette, Adrian Tejada and others. Nottingham finished with 143 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
“We stepped up tonight,” Belton said. “We’ve become more of a family, and that chemistry is all the way up.”
Lakewood senior running back Sebastian Kronberger returned from injury for the first time in a month and scored twice while gaining 201 yards on 23 carries. His 78-yard touchdown cut the Wilson lead to 29-24 with less than nine minutes left to play, but Nottingham carried the ball seven times on the ensuing 11-play scoring drive that ended with his second touchdown of the night.
“I knew (when Harris went down) I really had to step up my game,” Nottingham said. “I always go 100 percent with the ball or without the ball. It’s just in my blood.”
Wilson scored on the sixth play of the game when Harris took it in from 14 yards out. The Bruins scored on six of its seven offensive possessions.
Lakewood answered with touchdown runs from Kronberger and quarterback Gevani McCoy to take a 12-7 lead early in the second quarter. Their quality rushing attack allowed the Lancers to hold the ball for 16 of the first 24 minutes of the game. Seven of the games 10 scoring drives were eight plays or more.
Wilson only needed three plays to retake a 13-12 lead on a Nottingham touchdown, but on the ensuing drive, McCoy hit Mister Bridges on 4th & 5 for a 20-yard touchdown and a 18-13 Lakewood lead. It would be the last lead of the night for the Lancers.
Quarterback Ryan Pettway led the Bruins back down the field in less than three minutes, and hooked up with Ethan Moxley with 12 seconds left in the half to grab a 19-18 halftime advantage.
After forcing a quick punt to start the second half, Nottingham and Pettway led Wilson right back into the red zone. Nottingham fumbled at the goal line, but Belton picked the ball out of the air and ran into the end zone for the first touchdown of his football career.
“I was battling with the defensive tackle until I saw the ball just fly up,” Belton said. “I don’t know what came over me, but I just picked it and ran it. To be honest, I was scared that were going to go for my knees and just take me out, but I got that touchdown.”
Belton’s score made it 26-18, and he celebrated by jumping up and down with his teammates in the end zone. The junior said he liked his celebration, but that, “I could work on it a little bit more.”
Lakewood drove right back down inside the Wilson five-yard line, but Bruins linebacker Brett Dowgiewicz broke through the line and tackled Kronberger on fourth and goal. Dowgiewicz, who had to switch positions for this game due to injury, had a handful of solo tackles.
Wilson senior kicker Mason Delrosario added a 36-yard field goal to push the lead to 29-18 with nine minutes to play, but Kronberger took his next carry 78 yards for his second touchdown that cut the score to 29-24.
Nottingham scored for the second time before McCoy and Bridges connected for a second score with seconds remaining. The Bruins recovered the onside kick to clinch the victory.
“Everybody had the jitters,” Nottingham said of his teams slow start this season. “I realized (in the Mayfair game) that this is not us. (Coach) Ziggy has built us on winning. The big boys up front just aren’t nervous anymore. They aren’t little boys anymore, they’re big boys.”
Wilson enjoys the bye next week while Lakewood visits Compton.
QB Ryan Pettway: 11/23, 167 yards, TD
RB Marcos Nottingham: 22 carries, 143 yards, 2 TD
RB Dillon Harris: 4 carries, 80 yards, TD
WR Zach Dolphin: 4 catches, 78 yards
WR Tyrie Robinson: 3 catches, 53 yards
QB Gevani McCoy: 10/19, 132 yards, 2 TD, INT (5 carries, 40 yards, TD)
RB: Sebastian Kronberger: 23 carries, 201 yards, 2 TD (2 catches, 24 yards)
WR: Mister Bridges: 3 catches, 46 yards, 2 TD