Widefield football blanks Mitchell with no-huddle offense

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Photo - Mitchell Running Back, Sedrick Barnes (44), fumbles the ball while being tackled by the Gladiators defense during the Marauders 53-0 loss to Widfield on Saturday September 9, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney.
Mitchell Running Back, Sedrick Barnes (44), fumbles the ball while being tackled by the Gladiators defense during the Marauders 53-0 loss to Widfield on Saturday September 9, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney.

Widefield coach Nic Olney thought his offense could use a spark.
In their Week 1 win over Liberty, the Gladiators offense didn’t score at all in the second half, so Olney decided to change things up against Mitchell by running a no-huddle offense.

Olney’s decision proved to be a good one, as the Gladiators (2-0) defeated the Marauders (0-2) 53-0 in a dominant performance on Saturday at CA Foster Stadium.

Widefield Gladiators (53) vs. Mitchell Marauders (0)
Gladiator,Nathan Daniel (33), pushes for yards against the Mitchell Marauders defense in Widefield's 53-0 victory over the Marauders at Widefield High School stadium Saturday September 9, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney. 

“I think we caught (Mitchell) off guard by going no-huddle,” Olney said. "It wore them down pretty quickly, which was the game plan."
Saturday was the first time that the Gladiators ran the no-huddle since Olney took over in 2016.

“We’ve got all kinds of speed and great playmakers,” Olney said. “The faster we go, the more plays we have on the field, and the more chances we have to score, so we like it.”

The Gladiators scored early and often, beginning with a 59-yard touchdown run by quarterback TJ Davis with 9:25 to go in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead after the ensuing extra point by Taylor Pruett was blocked. The Gladiators added one more score with 32.3 seconds to go in the first half with Davis’ 53-yard TD pass to Myriek Goodwin.

The Gladiators scored on each of their first three possessions thanks to a three-yard carry from Jovanni Addison and a 16-yard reception by Rodrick Jones.

Widefield Gladiators (53) vs. Mitchell Marauders (0)
Marauders Quarterback, Kristian Tillotson (2), scrambles to find a way around an encroaching Gladiators defense during Widefield’s 53-0 victory over Mitchell at Widefield High School stadium Saturday September 9, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney. Photo by Jeff Kearney. 

The penalty-riddled Marauders could never come up with an answer for Widefield. It was the second consecutive game that Mitchell allowed at least 50 points after falling 50-12 to Thomas Jefferson a week ago.

Mitchell coach Corey Anderson said that although his team is “fractured” right now, he believes they can turn things around.

Widefield Gladiators (53) vs. Mitchell Marauders (0)
Widfield Gladiator, Isaac Price (4), arrives in the End Zone alone against the Marauders defense in Widefield's 53-0 victory over Mitchell Saturday September 9, 2017. Photo by Jeff Kearney. 

“I’ll tell you what, we have a classy group of kids,” Anderson said. “They just need to learn how to win. They haven’t had it before and success is not given, so we just have to continue to work, and I truly believe that we’ll get over the edge and it will be a different season here pretty soon.”

The game marked the first time since 2010 that Widefield blanked an opponent.

Davis, who finished 10-of-17 for 197 yards with three touchdowns and two rushing TDs, credited the offensive line as well as the defense for how well the team performed on Saturday.

“Defense wins games, always,” Davis said. “We just got to come out and produce. Our defense gets stop and we try to score. It goes both ways.”