Twenty seconds into Thursday night’s season-opening football game between Wilson and Mayfair at Ron Yary Stadium, it looked like it was going to be a long night for the Bruins. Amari Timmons was on return duty for the Monsoons and he ripped off a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the game, putting Wilson in a 7-0 hole before the offense or defense had touched the field.
What followed over the next 47:41 was not just a course correction for the Bruins, it was a statement. Wilson impressed on both sides of the ball in a 24-13 win, ending the first game of the season in victory formation.
The win gives Wilson the SP Cup for the next year, evening their four-year old rivalry series with the Monsoons at 2-2.
“This game is going to catapult us into a really good season,” said Bruins quarterback Ryan Pettway, who had 214 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns in an excellent performance. “They beat us pretty good last season and we wanted to make a statement.”
Pettway and the Wilson offense didn’t panic after the kickoff return, but instead had a five-minute, 10-play touchdown drive to answer and tie the game. Pettway was 5/5 to four different receivers and running back Dillon Harris opened up his strong night with a 13-yard touchdown run.
After that penalties slowed things down, and then an officiating error got Wilson in a bad spot before the half. With one second on the clock Wilson was lining up to kick a field goal, and the official on Wilson’s sideline told head coach Mark Ziegenhagen the clock was going to start on the snap–instead the head official started it on the spot, and the Bruins didn’t did get a chance to kick.
In the second half, the Bruins opened with a quick score, as Pettway found Michael Bruner on a curl route that Bruner broke off and turned into a 38 yard touchdown. Mayfair would answer back with a TD run from Robert Adams III, but the Bruins blocked the extra point attempt to maintain a 14-13 lead.
After that it was all Wilson, as they controlled the field and the clock. The Bruins broke the game open on the first play of the fourth quarter as Pettway hit Nicholas Timko for a 95-yard score that made it 21-13 Bruins. With the Wilson defense smothering Mayfair’s rushing attack, that eight point lead felt like it was worth two or three scores. Drew Owens let the Bruin faithful breathe easy with a 37-yard field goal a few minutes later.
Ethan Moxley was one of the leaders on the Bruins defense, holding Mayfair to 200 total yards of offense.
“We held a big grudge because our loss (to Mayfair) took a toll,” said Moxley, who had eight solo tackles. “I owed my past seniors to look back and be proud. This is a bounce back season.”
For Ziegenhagen, it was nice to see that his belief that this could be a special year wasn’t unfounded.
“It’s hard to really say until you play a game,” he said. “This is what we needed. They’ve had our number the last two years, but our guys came through.”
In addition to Pettway and Moxley’s big nights, Harris stepped up big with 155 yards on 29 carries.
Wilson (1-0) gets an extra day of rest and will prepare for a home game next week against San Jacinto.