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by Becky Kimbrell-Norris
RALEIGH — It was only a matter of time before Wakefield High School’s football team ignited.
Locked in a defensive battle with Southeast Raleigh for the first quarter, the Wolverines exploded with 35 points in the second and third quarters before claiming a 42-11 non-conference win over the home team Bulldogs.
Wakefield scored three times in the second quarter to take a 21-3 lead at the break and added three more touchdowns in the second half to remain undefeated at 3-0.
“It took us about a quarter to settle down,” said Wolverine head football coach Rod Sink. “During the end of the first quarter, we started to get our running game going, which helped our passing attack.”
Wakefield became more patient and plays began to click into place both offensively and defensively.
Wakefield quarterback Evan Brabrand passed for 225 yards, completing 21 of 40 passes, including two touchdown receptions. He also ran for a pair of scores.
“It seems like every week Evan is becoming more and more comfortable in the role of quarterback,” Sink said. “He’s starting to see things much better on the field, which helps him to accelerate his passing reads.”
It was Brabrand’s 3 yard-touchdown run, on the heels of effective play from junior running back Kelton Whitehead that put Wakefield’s first points on the board.
The Bulldogs answered back when Gary Nava kicked a 27-yard field goal to make the score 7-3.
On the next play, Omari William’s kick-off return to midfield set up Wakefield’s second touchdown. Whitehead raced in from 33 yards out stemming from a four-play drive.
Wakefield took just a few minutes to score again and the Wolverines extended their lead to 21-3 at halftime.
Brabrand also connected with Williams and Jake Butler for a pair of touchdowns.
One of the highlights of the game was when Wakefield defensive linebacker Rey Gil, a senior, stripped the ball away from a Southeast Raleigh runner and ran it back for a Wakefield score.
“Rey’s teammates stood the running back up and he stripped the ball right from his arms,” Sink said. “It was a great play to watch and it surely excited the team.”
Sink said despite his team’s efficient offensive performance, it was the defense which was the key factor in the game.
Nick Dennis and Ronnie Procopio led the Wolverines’ defense with four tackles each. Defensive back Mike Shelton also picked off two Bulldog passes.
“Defensively, we were able to shut down Southeast Raleigh’s offense,” Sink said. “We knew that if we missed a tackle against them, they could break it for a long run.”
“I am extremely pleased with our defense,” Sink continued. “At this point in the season, I would say that our defense has to be one of the strengths of our team.”
Offensively, the Wolverines are averaging a little over 38 points a game and have outscored their opponents 119-46 so far with their spread offensive attack.
“This season, we’re having a balanced approach to offense,” Sink said. “I think we’re 55 percent pass to 45 percent run thus far. Evan is finding ways to make plays and it helps that our offensive line is playing well this season.”
The Wolverines play next against Middle Creek, tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Wakefield High School.
The Mustangs are 2-1; their only loss to top ranked Garner, 21-16. They will be counting on their quick, solid defense, which has allowed it’s opponents just 66 yards per game this season.
“Middle Creek is a tough team,” Sink said, “and will be our toughest challenge we have faced this season. From my understanding, they outplayed Garner, but turnovers are what did them in.”
“I expect them to be well prepared for us and we’ll have to play a very good game to compete with them,” Sink said. “It should be an exciting game, because I know they throw and run the ball well.”