By Riley Hicks
Right before the end of the first half, the Wildcats attempted to extend their lead against the Griffin Bears. With just over a minute left, quarterback Maddox Mueller stepped back an threw a 35-yard pass to Nolan Wallace for the touchdown. This play gave Whitewater the momentum going into half, which helped put away the Bears.
On Friday night, Whitewater (3-2) placed itself as a contender for the region by winning 40-16 against Griffin (4-1).
“We had a great week of practice, and we challenged our kids this week,” Whitewater head coach Bryan Holley said. “We did a great job of executing and they did everything we asked them to. I could not be more proud of our guys.”
At 9:49 left in the first quarter, Mueller took it up the middle from two yards out. After a blocked extra point, the score was 6-0.
With Miles Montgomery leading the way in the backfield, the Wildcats put up 389 yards of total offense on the night. Montgomery rushed 137 of those yards, while also finding the end zone twice, one on a 1-yard run that allowed Whitewater to extend its lead. Mueller followed up with another 1-yard burst, which made for three touchdowns on three straight offensive possessions, and Whitewater jumped out 20-0 early in the second quarter.
The story of the night came from a strong performance on the defensive side of the ball for the Wildcats. It was a bend but don’t break mentality, as Griffin managed to put together drives but could not find the end zone. In the first half, Whitewater’s Montgomery and Dalton Goodman recorded two interceptions back-to- back to end scoring drives. The defense allowed just one touchdown the first half, which came off a quarterback scramble from Avious Nelson.
The Bears defense helped its comeback cause by sacking Mueller for a safety early in the third quarter to draw the lead to 27-8. That momentum ended quickly following another two straight interceptions from the Wildcat defense, and this time coming from Deion Samuel and Jamal Jenkins to force four turnovers for the defense.
After being shut out of the end zone the whole third quarter, the Wildcats finally strung a drive together in the fourth quarter, Montgomery darted up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown and his second rushing touchdown. Whitewater extended its lead to 33-8.
“I first have to thank my O-line and coaches, and working hard every day no matter what with the God-given gift I can do it,” Montgomery said following his two touchdowns. “The team has momentum now breaking this losing streak, and we are going to build off this victory the rest of the season.”
Whitewater scored once more off a 6-yard quarterback keeper from Mueller to further the lead to 40-8. The Bears also scored a late touchdown from Cameron McDowell, followed by a two-point conversion from Jalen Trice, which closed the gap to 40-16. The Wildcats defense finished the night allowing 196 passing yards and only 97 yards on the ground.
“They’ve got to get their eyes in the right spot and they did that. I said you’ve got to swarm, grab on and you can’t let go, and our defense showed up big time tonight,” Holley said.
This week Whitewater heads to Morrow (3-2) for its second region game. Griffin travels to Starr’s Mill (5-0) looking to get back into the region competition. Both games are Friday at 7:30 p.m.