TAMPA — The Wiregrass Ranch Bulls football team has been struggling on offense the last two weeks heading into Friday’s District 7A-8 game against Wharton High. The Bulls had scored a total of 19 points the last two games after averaging 30.5 the first two weeks.
Against Wharton, not only did the offense come together, but the defense got going as well. The Bulls scored on their first two possessions and caused four turnovers in a 42-6 victory at Wharton in a game that finished with a running clock.
"I think that’s the first time we’ve played a complete game in three weeks," said coach Mark Kantor, whose Bulls improved to 3-2 (1-1 in 7A-8). "I thought our rushing attack was well. Grant (Sessums) threw the ball on time and guys made plays."
Sessums threw touchdown passes of 14 yards to Jonavon Tillis and 41 yards to Hunter Helton and rushed for a 65-yard touchdown. Keith Walker had touchdown runs of 22 and nine yards, while Helton also rushed for a 7-yard score in Wiregrass’ victory.
"This was a very important win," Sessums said. "We were coming off of a loss so we had a bad taste in our mouths so we needed to come out here and win in a big fashion."
While the offense put up numbers, the defense set the tone for the Bulls, causing a fumble on Wharton’s (1-4, 1-1) first possession. Three plays later, Sessums connected with Tillis for the game’s first score.
Wiregrass led 28-6 at the half and got two touchdowns by the end of the third to force the running clock.
Defensively, Tillis and Tyler Hayes recovered fumbles, while Tillis and Helton had interceptions. Dylan Ridolph, who entered the game with 12 sacks, added two more against Wharton.
The Wildcats got their only points late in the first half when Emery Floyd found Brysen Dykes for a 19-yard touchdown.
Kantor hopes Friday’s game was a sign of things to come for his Bulls.
"I hope so," he said. "Next week’s the bye week and there’s some things we have to work on. Then we’ve got Gaither next so it’s going to be a dog fight all the way to the end.
"I felt something different about this team (Friday). Just a different feel. They were more upbeat, more get after it and I hope we can continue this."