MAKING THE CATCH IS ANTHONY PEREZ, who took the ball to the 10-yard line, enabling Wortham to score on the very next play. (Photo by Melissa Perez)
Wortham running back Stephon Ester had touchdown runs of 57 and 55 yards on one play drives to take over the game and send the Bulldogs on their fourth straight opening game win.
The Bulldogs defense set the tone for the contest early when Kemontrell Jackson intercepted a Brendan Massey pass and the offense took over at the Wampus Cat 22-yard line. Ester took a pitch and tossed a halfback pass to Braxton Whaley to the one-yard line. A bobbled snap pushed the offense back and the drive ended in a turnover on downs.
A Wampus Cat punt set the offense up at near midfield. Anthony Perez took the ball on a jet sweep and raced up the near sideline to the ten-yard line. A couple of penalties pushed them back again but Ester completed the drive with a one-yard run for the season opening score. The extra point failed and the score was 6-0.
Wortham had some good fortune on the following kickoff when Michael McGlone pounced on the loose ball at the Itasca 35-yard line. The drive ended in a turnover on a Jackson interception to end the first quarter.
Itasca had control of the first part of the second quarter. The Wampus Cat offense had a six-play drive and punted at midfield and then recovered a Bulldog fumble at the Wortham 36-yard line. Chase Rutherford had a run to the 20 and three plays later, the Cats punched in a five-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was good and the Wampus Cats led 8-6 at the half.
Whaley returned the second half kickoff 33 yards and the Bulldogs began at their own 43 yards. Ester took the handoff and took care of the rest on a 57-yard touchdown run. Jackson passed to Whaley for the conversion and the Bulldogs took the lead 14-8.
Itasca reached midfield and Ryan Mao recovered a fumble and the Bulldogs took over at their own 38. A few short runs reached midfield and Jackson had a run of 15 yards and Ester added a 14-yard run. On a second down at the Wampus Cat 21, Ester added his second touchdown run. Hunter Turner added the extra point for a 21-8 lead.
The Bulldogs tossed an interception to begin the fourth quarter and Itasca took nine plays and scored on a ten-yard run. The two-point conversion was good but the Wampus Cats cut into the lead 21-16.
The Bulldogs took possession at the 45-yard line. Ester took the handoff and raced through defense on a 55-yard touchdown run midway through the final quarter. Jackson added the conversion run and the lead extended 29-16.
Stephon Ester finished the night with 204 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns.
Wortham will take to the road to Bethel to take on the Cayuga Wildcats (0-1). Cayuga lost to Palmer Friday night.