By Greg Ford
Pirate coach Bill Howard acknowledged his team didn’t play its best football Friday night. However, their effort was good enough to produce a 30-21 victory over Lovejoy at Wylie Stadium.
More importantly, the win came in the District 13-4A opener for both teams and improved Wylie’s record to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in 13-4A, with crosstown rival Wylie East next on the schedule, Friday, Oct. 4, at Wylie Stadium. The Raiders are 0-1 in district after a 47-46 loss last Friday at Denison.
“It’s always big to get a district win,” Howard said. “How big it is will be determined by how we play the rest of the season.”
Quarterback and receiver Kameron Kelly provided many of the biggest plays last Friday.
The first came on a 7-yard, second-period run that put Wylie up 10-7. Christian Salas opened the scoring with a 34-yard field goal to end of the first quarter, but the Leopards went ahead 7-3 on Daniel Sefcik’s 11-yard run in the second quarter.
Wylie led 10-7 at halftime and then went up 17-7 in the third period on Kelly’s 75-yard scamper through the Leopard defense. The Leopards responded with Aaron Fuller’s 10-yard run to make it 17-14.
Kelly scored again, this time from three yards out, to put Wylie up 24-14 late in the third period.
However, Fuller’s 19-yard touchdown reception from Dakota Michaels cut the margin to 24-21 heading into the final eight minutes. In that stanza, Kelly used his arm to put the game out of reach, finding Alex Wesley with s 65-yard scoring strike.
“Our players who needed to make plays, made plays,” Howard said.
They’ll need to do it again Friday against the Raiders, who have won the last two meetings between the schools.
“It’ll be a very tough, physical game,” Howard said. “Wylie East is well coached. Their kids know our kids, and our kids know their kids. It’ll be an all-out battle.”
Notes: Kelly rushed for 191 yards on 17 carries, caught three passes for 63 yards and was 7-for-11 for 119 yards passing. Wesley was the team’s top receiver, catching nine passes for 122 yards.
Defensively, Ja’Vareyea Hicks and Israel Acuay were Wylie’s top tacklers with nine apiece. Hicks, Ramiro Gomez and Josh Chikumbindi each picked off a pass, while Devon Hughes recovered a fumble.