Last Friday’s performance wasn’t where the Wewahitchka Jr./Sr. High School football team should be, Coach Bobby Johns said, but “it was definitely a step in the right direction.”
The Gators (1-1) dominated the clock and field position and opened up a close game in the second half en route to a 24-0 win over Lighthouse Private Christian Academy in Pensacola.
Wewahitchka also performed solidly on the road, a goal for an early stretch which has seen the Gators on the road the first three weeks of the fall schedule, starting with a preseason classic.
“We finally played a decent game away from here,” Johns said. “We didn’t play great. But we executed on offense and chased the football on defense and that was nice to see.
“We finally played consistent enough to put drives together and move the chains.”
And they moved the chains on the ground.
The Gators piled up nearly 300 yards on the ground, 309 yards total, while running twice as many plays as Lighthouse, 60-30.
Wewahitchka twice converted on key fourth downs, running the clock and keeping the ball away from Lighthouse’s spread attack.
Wewahitchka finished with 24 first downs against 15 for Lighthouse.
“We played keep away,” Johns said. “We didn’t have a lot of big plays.”
A pass play went for 13 yards and two running plays gained as much as 14 yards, but other than that it was between the tackles all game long.
Creed Pariera led the Gators with 188 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries with a long of 26 yards.
Pariera also ran to convert three two-point conversions.
Tyreeq Thomas added 67 yards on 15 carries and Trevor Nunnery 38 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Nunnery also caught a 13-yard pass from Cody Lee and had 11 assists to lead Wewahitchka’s defense in tackles.
Lighthouse, meanwhile, managed just 102 total yards.
“They never really threatened,” Johns said, adding that the Gators mostly kept the Stingrays in the middle of the field.
The Gators were up just 8-0 at halftime, but converted an interception by Thomas into a touchdown and two-point conversion in the third quarter.
Wewahitchka sealed it with another touchdown and two-point conversion early in the fourth quarter.
The Gators finally play their home opener 7 p.m. CT Friday when they welcome Christ’s Church Academy of Jacksonville.