WELLSBURG — It doesn’t take long for Wheeling Park to hit or gain momentum.
It was pretty obvious Friday night on the Bud billiard court inside Brooke Memorial Stadium.
In just a matter of seconds, the Patriots went from a 20-14 lead to a 42-20 halftime lead. From there, they never looked back en route to throwing a second-half shutout and posting a convincing 56-20 win over the rival Bruins.
“(Wheeling Park) is a team that, if you blink, scored three times before you opened your eyes,” Brooke head coach Mac McLean said.
After Brooke’s Gus Gilbert returned a 90-yard kickoff for a touchdown, Wheeling Park scored on its final four possessions of the half. And he did it in many ways too.
“Thanks to Brooke because they did things that we didn’t see on film and they had a nice little package put together,” Wheeling Park head coach Chris Daugherty said. “We had to make some adjustments and once we did that we felt good offensively.”
Gilbert’s kickoff return followed the second of four touchdown contacts between Park senior quarterback Brett Phillips and junior wide receiver Mykel Davis.
This combination opened the score of the match by connecting to 13 meters. And then after Brooke scored an unanswered 14 capitalizing on the Patriots’ lone-game turnover, Park never eased off.
Phillips found Davis all alone behind the Bruins secondary at 14 yards, then completely took control when Phillips – a true double threat – launched a highlight run in which he launched a defensive player, then used a big pitch to escape. the last tackler en route to a 58-yard springboard.
“When we’re not getting in the way, we’re pretty good offensively,” Daugherty said. “We have to be able to get the ball back, and I thought from the middle of the second quarter we were pretty good defensively.”
In fact, midway through the second quarter, Park’s defense quickly returned the ball to their attack.
Jameson Maynard got a pass from Braelyn Sperringer, which Park turned into a six-pointer a few plays later when Phillips found electric junior Jarrae Hawkins 14 yards out.
On the ensuing offensive play for the Bruins, Sperringer, who was beleaguered, tried to avoid a sack and threw a pass directly into the chest of Park’s Charlie DiSaia.
Two plays later, Park struck again. This time it was junior Zac Lydick at 2 yards.
“We knew coming in we had to play a perfect game to win and we didn’t,” McLean said. “I was happy with the way we played in the first half but throwing an interception they came back to 5 and another interception. They are able to put you in a hole quickly and they did.
Phillips and Davis clung again from 11 yards to cap the first half score.
In the second half, Brooke played without Sperringer for precautionary reasons, according to McLean. Phillips, however, didn’t let go. He and Davis again played throw and catch from 24 yards.
In total, Phillips finished an effective 16 of 23 for 254 yards and all five scores. He also ran for 53 yards. He spread wealth through the air. Keohn Phillips Jr. was the primary target with five receptions for 93 yards. Hawkins added five catches for 90 yards.
Brooke, meanwhile, finished with 139 passing yards and only had 20 rushing. Junior Garrett Hornick caught an 8-yard touchdown and promising junior Gavin Moore scored from 13 yards. He had 52 yards on just six carries.
Both teams are back in action next Friday. Park stays on the road with a tough test at Parkersburg South, while the Bruins host Weir.