MOUNT PLEASANT - A mob of garnet followed cornerback Dakaire Alston as he streaked into the end zone after an 85-yard interception return with just seconds to play.
It was a fitting end to a second-half defensive masterpiece.
Wando scored 45 unanswered points in the second half to run away with a 45-13 win over White Knoll in the Warriors' season high school football debut Friday.
Alston's interception was the seventh turnover forced by the Wando defense in the second half.
"They were ready to play a physical Class AAAA ballgame," Wando head coach Jimmy Noonan said. "I'm very proud of our defense tonight."
Trailing 13-0 at halftime, Wando (1-0) allowed White Knoll (0-2) past the 50-yard line just twice through the final two quarters, once off a fumble and the other resulting in an interception for a touchdown.
Warriors safety Stephen Barrera intercepted a pass in the third quarter, then recovered a fumble in the fourth that set up Bailey Hart for a 4-yard touchdown run just seconds later to put Wando up 21-13.
"Our defense buckled down," Barrera said. "Our offense needed us to step up and we made some plays to help get them going."
Wando forced turnovers on White Knoll's first six drives of the fourth quarter. Five of those turnovers were turned into points in two minutes or less on the ensuing drive.
"We didn't execute," White Knoll head coach Dean Howell said. "I don't know. We just fell apart and next thing you know, you're behind. I felt like we were losing momentum in the first half when we should have kept scoring and couldn't do it. That's what makes me the sickest."
Five different players scored for Wando after the Warriors failed to reach the White Knoll red zone in the first half.
After being bottled up most of the first half, Wando running back Kenny Waring broke loose in the second, finishing with 122 yards and three touchdowns. Wando finished with 231 rushing yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Wando opens a three-game road trip next week starting with Ashley Ridge, and followed by trips to Lexington and Summerville. Wando was 0-7 on the road last season.
"This is a good start but we have to learn how to get on the bus as well," Noonan said. "You have to win on the road over the year. We're going to enjoy this for a day then challenge our guys next week and prepare for a very good Ashley Ridge team."
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