Jarvar Hill and Wewahitchka were dangerous when holding on to the football Friday.
The senior atoned for two fumbles by scoring five touchdowns in leading the Gators past North Bay Haven 34-13. Hill finished with 211 yards rushing and Rashard Ranie added 128 on the ground in Wewahitchka’s second win in a row despite four turnovers.
The Buccaneers couldn’t capitalize on early opportunities and dropped to 2-2.
Wewahitchka scored 14 unanswered points to settle the outcome. The Gators scored 27 points in the second half after being stymied with three turnovers in the first 24 minutes.
“For us to turn the ball over like that and have a shutout in the first half was big,” Wewahitchka assistant and head coach in-waiting David Barnes said. “In this offense we want to run the football and we did that well.”
Hill scored all of Wewahitchka’s touchdowns. The Gators needed the last two to finally convince the Buccaneers.
NBH pulled within a touchdown twice. The first time came on a Braiden Hardesty touchdown grab from David Smith in the third quarter to pull to 14-7. The Buccaneers also trailed 20-13 after Corey White’s 80-yard interception return for a score early in the fourth.
Hill answered the latter tally with a 6-yard run to cap a 10-play drive and give Wewahitchka a 27-13 advantage. He broke free for 60 yards on Wewahitchka’s next possession to cap the scoring.
Wewahitchka (2-4) led 7-0 at the half despite the three turnovers, including two lost fumbles by Hill. He had 59 yards rushing in the first half and also grabbed a 66-yard scoring reception from Ranie midway through the second quarter.
Wewahitchka punted on two first-half possessions and Ranie threw an interception on its last.
North Bay Haven also lost a fumble on its first series and had the deepest penetration in the opening half. The Buccaneers drove to the 12 on their fourth possession, but the 16-play march stalled on fourth down. NBH also turned the ball over on downs at the Wewahitchka 23 on its final possession of the second quarter.
The Buccaneers had 60 yards of total offense on its first two drives of the second half after amassing 196 in the first. The lack of execution and Wewahitchka wearing down the Buccaneers late was too much to overcome.
“We were moving the ball up and down the field,” NBH coach Jared Hale said. “We came out strong, but you need to come away with points and we didn’t.”
Devante Garland led NBH with 73 yards rushing. Smith was 8 for 17 for 124 yards and two interceptions. Hardesty had four catches for 110 yards.
Wewahitchka is at Tallahassee Maclay on Friday.
North Bay Haven 0 0 7 6 - 13
Wewahitchka 0 7 13 14 - 34
WHS - Hill 66 pass from Ranie (Setterich kick) 5:52, 7-0 WHS
WHS - Hill 3 run (Setterich kick) 9:59, 14-0
NBH - Hardesty 37 pass from Smith (Bingham kick) 7:32, 14-7
WHS - Hill 6 run (kick failed) 3:25, 20-7
NBH - White 80 interception return (kick failed) 10:03, 20-13
WHS - Hill 6 run (Setterich kick) 4:46, 27-13
WHS - Hill 60 run (Setterich kick) 2:06, 34-13