Everyone knew the Wilson football roster was young and relatively inexperienced coming into this season and it showed on Friday night as the Bruins fell to visiting Warren 53-0 in their home opener.
“We’ve got only one way to go and that’s up,” first-year coach Scott Meyer said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and a lot of work to do. We know where we’re at now. You’d rather play a good team like that than someone you roll over that you can’t really learn from.”
Warren (1-0) looked sharp after a slow start with quarterback Nico Iamaleava leading the way and spreading the ball around. The 6’5” junior completed 15 of his 30 pass attempts and seven of them went for touchdowns to six different receivers. He finished the night with 280 passing yards and 35 rushing yards.
“I think in this first game we got the jitters out,” Iamaleava said. “Now we just want to keep working.”
Iamaleava is a five-star recruit who already has scholarship offers from Alabama, USC, UCLA and other major universities. He’s also from Long Beach.
“It felt great to play here in Long Beach, my hometown, and seeing the crowds back,” Iamaleava said. “I felt real comfortable out here in my city.”
Wilson had a pair of chances to score in the first quarter after Warren miscues, and that might have changed the complexion of the contest. The Bears went for it on fourth down in their own territory on the first drive, but turned it over on downs.
The Bruins got the ball down to the Warren 13-yard line thanks to a nice run by junior Johnell Gray, but a pair of sacks on quarterback Xander McLaurin killed the drive. The senior was sacked eight times in the game.
A muffed punt by Warren late in the first quarter set Wilson up on the Bears 32-yard line, and it looked like Gray had scored a touchdown to tie possibly take a lead, but the run was called back on a holding penalty.
Warren scored on the ensuing drive thanks to a blown coverage as Iamaleava hooked up with Josh Johnson over the middle for a 31-yard score. Iamaleava also threw first-half touchdowns to Dajon Hancox, Philly Safee and a pair to Juan Wilson. He added two short TD passes to Marcus Higgs and D’Anthony Curtis in the third quarter before the running clock fourth quarter.
With five sophomores starting of offense and playing from behind, Wilson struggled to sustain drives while gaining negative net yardage. Warren actually game Wilson more yards via penalty than on offense.
“We have to come in tomorrow and put the film on, come in focused and learn from this,” Meyer said. “We’ll get better.”
Despite the outcome, Meyer said it was good to be back at Wilson and back to a normal season.
“It felt much more normal than those spring games because the first game in the spring felt really weird,” Meyer said. “It’s August, the band was here with the cheerleaders and a pretty solid crowd for the first time out. Good to be back on Friday nights in the fall.”