WELLBORN — Ohatchee and Wellborn met in what was expected to be a tight Class 3A, Region 5 game, but the Indians rolled to a 42-0 victory Friday night.
From the opening whistle, Ohatchee (6-1, 3-1 Region 5) played with guns blazing and scoring on four of its six first-half drives.
“We came out and executed a real high level offensively, and our defense was lights out,” Indians head coach Scott Martin said. “Everything we did in the first half was because our kids were very focused on the game.”
Junior quarterback Grayson Alward, who led the Indians’ offense with 203 rushing yards, credited his offensive line for his success. Ohatchee’s line wreaked havoc on the Panthers’ defense, which opened up the door for a 59-yard, 54-yard and 42-yard touchdown runs for Alward.
“It all starts with blocking, and we had some great blocking in this game,” Alward said. “The line was able to open up huge gaps, and we were able to run up in there.”
Although Ohatchee is not known for their air attack, Alward was a perfect 2-for-2 with two touchdown throws to Dominique Thomas that combined for 95 yards.
“We were able to run the ball and open up some holes,” Martin said. “We were able to throw the ball with precision.”
Martin is growing fond of his first-year starting quarterback. He said that Alward had spent the previous season as a backup quarterback, but had mostly seen playing time on the other side of the ball as a free safety.
“(Alward) is coming into his own,” Martin said. “He basically went a whole year without ever playing quarterback. It’s taken him three or four games to get back in the groove of playing quarterback in live situations, but he’s really playing well.”
Ohatchee’s defense, which shut out the Panthers last season, went into Friday’s matchup looking for another zero.
“We had great motivation to come out here and do it again,” Ohatchee defensive back Kevin Williamson said. “We watched a lot of film and learned their tendencies, so we knew what was coming.”
In the third quarter, Williamson scooped up a block punt by Ryker Lambright at Wellborn’s 25-yard line and took it for a touchdown. That made it 35-0 and appeared to take the wind out of the Panthers’ sails.
“We had the momentum, and we were right there at the house,” Williamson said. “Ryker made the block and the ball took a perfect roll and I was able to scoop it up.”
Thomas rushed for 63 yards on 10 attempts, and Lambright picked up 28 yards on six attempts. Cam McCombs found 12 rushing yards late in the fourth quarter.
For the Panthers, freshman Jett Smith got the nod for his first game as Wellborn’s quarterback, completing four passes for 62 yards. Calvin Spinks had two receptions for 42 yards, and found 23 yards rushing. JaMyron Curry also rushed for 23 yards, and Javian Thomas rushed for 20 yards. Walker Hayes had 20 receiving yards.
Wellborn is now 1-5, including 1-2 in the region.