The West Ashley Wildcats rolled up 460 yards of offense and held off James Island for a 23-17 victory Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The win put the Wildcats at 2-0, doubling their win total from a year ago.
“It feels great. We’ve worked hard.” said Wildcat head coach Bobby Marion. “Two of our goals coming into the season was to beat Bishop England since they were last year’s state champ, and follow that with a win over our rivals.”
The night started ominously for West Ashley as the Wildcats drove 65 yards on their first series only to see quarterback Pedro Manigault fumble into the end zone to thwart the drive.
The teams exchanged possessions in the opening period and entered the second quarter scoreless.
Marion brought out his bag of tricks in the second quarter. On their first drive of the quarter, the Wildcats faced a fourth and 1 at their own 40. In punt formation, the ball was snapped to the up back, Bobby Ruff, who scampered 50 yards to the Trojan 10. Two plays later, on a halfback pass, Marquize Jenkins hit senior Logan Cooke for the TD to give the Wildcats the early 7-0 lead.
After holding James Island (1-2) on its next possession, West Ashley ran a flea flicker pass play from its own end zone. Manigault hit a wide-open Cooke for 72 yards and a first down at the Trojan 20. With 4:43 left in the half, Manigault ran it in from 2 yards to make it 14-0.
“Hey, we work on those plays at practice and feel we can run them at anytime in a game,” said Marion. Manigault finished with 85 rushing yards for the Wildcats.
Hutch Fontaine hit a 29-yard-field goal as time expired to put the Trojans on the board, making it 14-3.
West Ashley junior Marquize Jenkins showed his breakaway speed early in the second half as he raced 56 yards for a score to make it 20-3 with 6:25 left in the third quarter. Jenkins led all rushers with 147 yards on 17 carries.
Senior Tyler Pentz hit a 46-yard field goal on the Wildcats’ next possession to give West Ashley a 23-3 lead.
James Island made it interesting in the final stanza, scoring two touchdowns, the second with 1:38 left. But the Wildcats recovered the ensuing onside kick to put the game away. The two scores, though, left a sour taste in Marion’s mouth. “We’ve got to finish better if we expect to win in our league.”
West Ashley travels to Ashley Ridge next week to play an 0-2 team that the Wildcats have never beaten.
“They will be hungry for a win, but we are going to try hard to get our first win against them,” said Marion.
James Island 0 3 0 14—17
West Ashley 0 14 6 3—23
WA- Marquize Jenkins 11 pass to Logan Cooke (Caroline Cashion kick)
WA- Pedro Manigault 2 run (Cashion kick)
JI-Hutch Fontaine 29 FG
WA- Jenkins 56 run (kick failed)
WA- Tyler Pentz 46 FG
JI- Buss Hamilton 11 pass from Ty Stubbs (Fontaine kick)
JI- Hamilton 1 run (Fontaine kick)