Wilhoit’s first start at running back would be a sidebar to the Bruins’ biggest game of the year, a 6A South region quarterfinal game at top-seeded Varina.
The decision came down to the wire because starting running back Nathan Gaines tested his injured ankle during warm-ups, but ultimately couldn’t go.
Wilhoit made good on his spot start, carrying 17 times for 106 yards and one touchdown in Forest Park’s 27-18 win. The Bruins (9-3) will travel to nationally-ranked Oscar Smith (12-0) for a region semifinal game on Saturday at 2 p.m.
“The line was great,” Wilhoit said. “They gave me big creases that I could get through, explode to the outside, and get as much yardage as possible.”
Wilhoit’s performance was made more impressive by the fact that he played both ways, lining up at cornerback on defense.
“For him to go from being the third-string running back to rush for over 100 yards, and then have to go back on defense against a [Varina] team that runs a no-huddle, I was very proud of him,” senior safety Mustaqeem Williams said.
Williams had his own night of firsts.
The state track champion and 2012-13 indoor All-Met Athlete of the Year returned his first interception for a touchdown during the opening quarter.
“All the other [defensive backs] had their pick-sixes, and they’re always clowning me about getting mine,” Williams said. “But at free safety, it’s rather difficult as opposed to playing corner.”
To set up his 55-yard return for a score, Williams jumped a seam route. He deliberately loitered near the hash mark, minding his deep zone responsibility out of the cover-2 play call.
“The ball came to me, and I just took off,” said Williams, who has five interceptions on the season. “Man, I was excited. When I caught the ball, there was nobody around but [Blue Devils quarterback Tim Minor]. It was all field.”
The Bruins are busy forging an identity as road warriors with a scrappy defense. For Williams – who has coaches at the next level courting his services in both sports – there’s no identity crisis.
“A lot of people say I’m a track star playing football,” he said. “I honestly don’t know. I’m pretty good at both sports; that’s how I look at it.”