Wilson clinched its fifth consecutive trip to the CIF Southern Section postseason on Friday night at home by beating Compton 42-16 with playoff caliber football. The Bruins (6-4, 4-2) used a strong rushing attack and key defensive adjustments in the second half to win comfortably.
After a pair of lopsided losses and some key injuries to start this season, Wilson bounced back to win six of its last eight games. Asked last night if he would’ve believed his team would reach the playoffs after a 48-14 loss at home to San Dimas in August, Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen just shook his head and smiled.
“I would’ve bought some oceanfront property in Arizona,” Ziegenhagen said. “The guys just stuck with it. We had a few injuries and had to move some guys around, like Nottingham, who has been a blessing.”
Senior Marcos Nottingham rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries behind the Wilson offensive line of Conrad Christian, Terren Monette, Jakob Belton, Jaylen Farrera and Adrian Tejeda. Nottingham has seven touchdowns in his last four league games.
“I love my offensive line,” Nottingham said. “I feed them every Wednesday with at least three quesadilla boxes of Casa Sanchez. They love it.”
Compton (6-4, 2-4) rushed for 271 yards on 53 carries (5 yards per carry) but 168 yards on the ground from Niles Hibbert and Terrence Pratt came in the first half. Wilson made adjustments to the unbalanced Compton line at halftime, and held the visitors scoreless in the second half.
“It was a disheartening loss last week,” Ziegenhagen said of the defeat at Millikan. “But we rebounded against a tough Compton team.”
Compton shot itself in the foot on the opening kickoff when an onside attempt was taken 50-yards back the other way by Ethan Moxley for a touchdown. Wilson doubled its lead on Nottingham’s first touchdown run, but Compton got back into the game by going with the hurry up offense. A touchdown pass from Jesse Brew to Maepu Anthony Sao with seconds left before halftime cut the lead to 28-16 at the break.
However, it was all Bruins in the second half as Nottingham averaged 8.3 yards per carry. The senior has turned himself into the featured back for Wilson after waiting his turn.
“I just let time do what it does and kept working and hoping the coaches would see that I’ve got potential,” Nottingham said. “It was hard because I’ve never been that one main guy who is the star. I’ve been the guy who has to wait and see other people shine. It feels good to just be that guy. I defied the odds and I wanted to show the underclassman that if you work you can become anything you want.”
“Good for him, he deserves it,” Ziegenhagen said. “He’s worked hard the last few years and now he’s got an opportunity to shine in the playoffs.”
Wilson will learn its Division 6 playoff fate on Sunday.
QB Ryan Pettway: 9/13, 145 yards, TD
RB Marcos Nottingham: 25 carries, 208 yards, 3 TD
WR Zach Dolphin: 4 receptions, 120 yards, TD
RB Niles Hibbert: 27 carries, 170 yards
RB Terrance Pratt: 18 carries, 94 yards, TD