MOUNT PLEASANT — Your offense is going to have question marks when you lose 4,000 yards to graduation. The Wando Warriors had their best regular season in school history last fall with a high-octane offense and had to come up with some replacements to keep the positive energy flowing.
Wando began the regular season Saturday night against James Island with six new starters on offense. Coach Jimmy Noonan had major holes to fill, including finding replacements for all-state quarterback Christian Hart and North-South wide receiver Rudder Brown, among others.
After the season opener, the questions seem to have been answered.
The Warriors moved the ball well at times against the Trojans, and then there were the penalties and turnovers that will cause some premature aging for the coaches and, perhaps, some extra conditioning for the players.
But the Warriors were up to the challenge after a disastrous Sertoma Classic performance just two days earlier, posting a 39-12 victory in front of about 4,500 fans at the Wando Athletic Complex.
“Everyone in the state wants to get off on the right foot,” Wando coach Jimmy Noonan said. “But only 50 percent can. So, I am happy with that. It looked like a typical first game. The penalties ran amok, and the turnovers in the redzone aren’t good any time of the year. We have plenty to work on.”
It’s hard to predict if the Warriors will match last year’s 10-1 record in the regular season. But it’s almost certain that quarterback Dalton Stubbs will show improvement every week. Throw in talented junior running back Kenning Waring, a state champ in the 100-meter dash his freshman season, and you have some building blocks.
“I wish I had a crystal ball because high school football is hard to predict,” Noonan said. “The first thing is we have to stay healthy. We’re inexperienced, and the only way we’re going to get that experience is through repetitions and solid practices. But we do have a healthy bunch of players.”
The Warriors took a 10-0 lead on a Clayton Rosenbaum field goal and Stubbs’ 11-yard TD pass to Darius Wade.
James Island cut it to 10-6 when quarterback Tyler Stubbs scored on an 11-yard keeper.
That’s when Waring took over. He scored on a 10-yard run late in the second quarter, and erupted for a 43-yard TD run on the Warriors’ first possession of the second half to give his team a 23-6 cushion. He scampered 10 yards for a score with 5:53 left in the third quarter, and the Warriors never looked back.
James Island 0 6 6 0 —12
Wando 3 14 13 9 —39
Wando—Clayton Rosenbaum 26 FG
Wando—Darius Wade 11 pass from Dalton Stubbs (Rosnebaum kick)
James Island—Tyler Stubbs 11 run (kick failed)
Wando—Kenny Waring 10 run (Rosenbaum kick)
Wando—Waring 43 run (run failed)
Wando—Waring 10 run (Rosenbaum kick)
James Island—Stubbs 30 run (pass failed)
Wando—Bailey Hart 20 run (kick failed)
Wando—Rosenbaum 31 FG