Wilson’s Acey Calhoun recorded a bone-crushing sack during the third quarter of Friday night’s season opener against Perry Street Prep, and he hopped off the quarterback with a celebratory skip. Then he fell to the ground with a cramp, and soon after his dominant night was over.
But the linebacker had earned the fourth quarter off, make no mistake about it. He recorded three sacks and his first high school interception to lead the Tigers to a commanding 55-12 win over Perry Street Prep (0-1) in nonleague action at Coolidge in Northwest.
“We came out to dominate as a team,” Calhoun said. “We have a lot of good players, so we came out and dominated. I was one of them.”
That swagger and confidence was bursting out of the seams of Wilson’s slick new white uniforms. It was an impressive performance. Wilson scored two touchdowns of 50 yards or more — and added a defensive score — but the Tigers also looked undisciplined, racking up 13 penalties for 142 yards, including several personal fouls that resulted in two ejections.
“We’re going to work on it as a team,” Calhoun said of shaping up after being addressed sternly on the matter by the Tigers’ coaching staff. “Practice makes perfect.”
Shorter’s scores broke open the game on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter. Beumel hit the versatile junior for a 59-yard touchdown with just over nine minutes left in the second quarter, and the two hooked up again for a 29-yard touchdown pass on a seam route to make the score 20-0 a few minutes later. Wilson (1-0) never looked back.
Between those scores came Calhoun’s interception inside the Perry Street Prep 15 yard-line off quarterback Kentrell Hill-Gay, which ended the Pride’s most promising drive of the night. The Wilson defense forced four interceptions, including one that Mathew Thorne returned 32 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to make it 40-6.
The depth of skill players Beumel has at his disposal was blatantly apparent. The offense is more open and spread than it was a year ago, when the Tigers relied heavily on running back Jeremy Dixon (1,549 rushing yards in 2012). There was production littered across the field in the opener, including dazzling kick returns from DeMatha transfer Juwan Hikim (who also caught a three-yard score) and the speed running tandem of Larry Frazier (104 total yards) and sophomore Abdul Adams (95 yards rushing on two carries, including a 79-yard touchdown in the third quarter.)
“It starts with our o-line. They’re giving me plenty of time, and our receivers are just getting open,” Beumel said. “And the timing is there. If you have good timing, you’re going to succeed.”