HS Football: Cavaliers Fail to Stop the Still Unbeaten Willis Wildkats

By: Jake Wilson
| Published 10/05/2023


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- The Willis Wildkats (7-0) remained undefeated against the College Park Cavaliers (3-3), with both teams reaching the midway point of the district schedule.

The fireworks started early and fast for the Wildkats, as the electric return game of Jermaine Bishop Jr. put his team on the board in the opening seconds. A 100-yard kickoff return got Willis on the board first, with only 14 seconds expired.

In an exclusive interview with The Woodlands Online Sports, Willis Head Coach Trent Miller spoke on the quick start that his team got off to.

“That was the kind of spark we need,” said Miller. “It helps our guys relax a little bit and gives our defense the opportunity to be loose and just play.”

In need of a response, College Park’s offense stepped up. A lengthy drive saw mostly running plays for the Cavaliers, with runningback Jayden Ogoli breaking into the endzone on a speed option play.

Both defenses played hard-nosed football for the next two drives, with neither offense finding success. A string of penalties forced a punt from the Wildkats, and the Cavaliers could not connect on passes.

After the unsuccessful drive, the Willis attack came to life. 13-6A’s best offensive unit connected on back-to-back passing scores from D.J. Lagway. DeBraun Hampton scored on a 52-yard throw down the middle of the field, followed by a short out throw to Jermaine Bishop, making it 21-7 as the first quarter ended.

“D.J. [Lagway] is special, I do not think anyone would contest that,” said Miller about his quarterback. “ But it's not only a testament to him, but our receiving corps. They know exactly where to be, what to do, how to get open.”

The Cavalier defense made a crucial stop to begin the second quarter. An interception in the endzone forced by Marco Beltran gave College Park the ball and a chance to get back on the scoreboard.

Disaster struck when the ensuing drive saw a pick-six from the Willis defense. With the score at 28-7, the Cavaliers desperately needed a response from their suddenly lackluster offense.

A time-consuming drive saw the Cavaliers eat up the clock before a one-yard run got into the endzone for Ogoli’s second score. College Park parlayed the success into a defensive stop on a fumble recovery that gave them a shot at making the game a one-possession competition.

Unfortunately for the Cavs, the opportunity fell short. The drive ended in a turnover on downs that gave possession back to the Wildkats inside College Park’s territory. Clinical passes and a hard run from Daylion Robinson got Willis another score, making it 35-14 at the half.

The situation only worsened for College Park to start the second half with an interception on their first offensive drive, setting up the hot Willis offense in fantastic field position. The short field gifted to them by the defensive play from Bishop Jr. was cashed in by the Wildkats with another passing score, making the score 42-14.

College Park could only muster a field goal as a response to the Willis onslaught, which provided a window for the Wildkats to increase their lead. They did so with a long passing touchdown to Jalen Mickens, forcing even more pressure on the Cavaliers.

Another offensive drive stalled for the Cavs before a major defensive play gave them back possession. A fumble recovery from Aiden Endicott gave another opportunity for the College Park offense to get into the endzone.

“If we do not put the ball in the endzone, that's a failure,” said Miller on his team’s turnovers. “But they picked each other up, they elevated each other, and we knew what we could take advantage of.”

The fourth quarter started equally as rough for the Cavaliers as the team had to convert on a fourth down if they wanted their drive to stay alive. The conversion fell to the turf and gave possession to the lethal Wildkat attack.

Willis began changing the offensive formations to have a runner in the backfield alongside Lagway, with the team focusing on running out the clock. The transition did not stop the offensive efficiency of the Wildkats as a 60-yard rush from Terri Lawrence III pushed the score to 56-17 with most of the quarter still intact.

College Park read the writing on the wall, with the score being as lopsided as it was. The Cavs took on a drive that consumed the clock, mixing the run and pass in an effective balance. The drive faltered when a failed fourth down conversion ended their hopes and the game in a Wildkat victory.

With another victory under their belt, the Wildkats now look to themselves as the methods of keeping up momentum have to remain fresh.

“The focus for us is going to be what it always is,” said Miller. “We focus on what we control and keep the main thing the main thing. It's all about how we develop and how we get better both offensively and defensively.”

The Wildkats return home for a matchup against the Caney Creek Panthers while the Cavaliers prepare to face the rival Woodlands Highlanders in the War of the Woods next Friday.

Comments •
Log In to Comment