FISHERSVILLE — One quick look at the numbers doesn’t tell the full story of just how impressive last week was for Wilson Memorial.
The Green Hornets didn’t just cruise past Rockbridge County 34-2 in a game that was pretty much over from the moment it began.
But Wilson did that with a number of key injuries in the trenches, leaving the offensive and defensive lines depleted. More importantly, the situation suddenly threw several young, inexperienced players into the starting lineup unexpectedly in just the second game.
“I was pleased with how we responded to injuries,” said Drew Bugden, a Wilson alum who is entering his third season as the school’s head football coach. “We had a lot of guys in on the line who were not starters last week and played well given the circumstances. It showed that they are ready and working for their opportunity whenever it arises. Nobody panicked, and we did not skip a beat.”
Defensively, the Green Hornets have been one of — if not the best — defense in the Shenandoah Valley early on this season.
Defensive ends Nathan Goff and CJ Robinson have combined for 25 tackles for Wilson on the edges while linebackers Alex Jordan and Ryan Mundie have held things down behind them. Defensive back Parker Baucom has 12 tackles and two interceptions himself.
But it’s been the surprise emergence of the run game that’s allowed the Green Hornets to roll past their first two opponents this year.
Speedy back Brayden Tyree is emerging as a big-time player with 28 carries for 213 yards and three touchdowns while Ronin Tabler has 13 carries for 198 yards and three scores and Mundie has been a solid third option with 15 carries for 67 yards and a score himself.
“Brayden Tyree is a big-play threat whenever he touches the football,” Bugden said. “If he is out in the open field, he is tough to square up and hit. That is why he drew several horse collars and face masks when players tried to tackle him. The reason, however, that Brayden has had so many big plays is because of our offensive line, backs and tight ends doing the work in the trenches.”
Up next for the Green Hornets is their first Shenandoah District test of the season at longtime local rival Waynesboro.
The Little Giants, a trendy pick to be a sleeper in the league during the preseason, now sit at 0-3 after a loss to Fort Defiance.
While the season is far from over for Waynesboro, the team certainly finds itself playing with a sense of urgency this week.
“Waynesboro is a very good football team,” Bugden said. “Their record does not at all show how good they are and it is obvious from watching the tape. Their running backs run very hard and their quarterback has a big arm with plenty of weapons to distribute the ball to. Defensively, they are very good up front, in particular at the defensive tackle position. We need to improve our tackling as a team. That includes special teams and defense. It is imperative that we break down and wrap this week because if you arm tackle these kids, they will get chunk plays and change the battle over field position really quick. We also need to focus on our assignments and play disciplined, fast defense if we want to stop them. Offensively, this is by far the best defense we have faced.”
So far, Wilson has had success with ease through its first two games and it has been impressive considering the circumstances.
But the Green Hornets know they’ll have their biggest challenge yet on Friday at Waynesboro and more focus will be required.
And much like they did last week while dealing with injuries, they’re ready to take on the challenge.
“This is a Shenandoah District game,” Bugden said. “Nothing about it will come easy.”