KNOXVILLE — Webb School of Knoxville’s football team used its normal formula for success and picked up a crucial Division II-AA East victory.
The Spartans had all three of their running backs running in high gear, and the result was a 49-12 victory over Dutchtown Road and region rival Christian Academy of Knoxville Friday night, Oct. 19, before a spirited and packed house at David Meske Stadium.
“This game meant a lot to us. It set us up to make a run in the playoffs,” said sophomore running back Elijah Howard, who rushed for 81 yards and scored three touchdowns on five carries. “This is always a big game for us. It’s the Battle for Duchtown.
“Early in the season, we played well but we didn’t win much because we played a lot of tough teams.”
Howard did his part in Webb's victory effort (4-5 overall, 4-1 in Division II-AA East), catching a 23-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Kaden Armes, who went 2-of-4 for 57 yards.
The Spartans play their best when their wing-T offensive attack is balanced, as it was on this night.
Roderick Lewis had four carries for 142 yards before halftime, which included touchdown scampers of 73 and 52 yards.
Jahlil Jefferson, a senior, rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown in the first half, setting the tone for the contest when he returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.
This was Webb's 10th victory in 11 all-time games versus the Warriors (2-7, 1-4).
“It’s great to get a win over CAK during our senior year,” Jefferson said. “They’re our big rival.”
After Jefferson scored on the opening kickoff, the Warriors responded by engineering a long drive that resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Zander Tonkin, making the score 7-3 with 7 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
CAK then reached into its bag of tricks and successfully executed an onside kick, taking possession at its 49-yard line. The Warriors would eventually cash in and pull to within 7-6 when Tonkin booted a 37-yard field goal.
“They caught us off guard with that,” Jefferson said about the onside kick.
“We knew that they were going to try an onside kick and we just didn’t execute on that play,” said Dave Meske, Spartans head coach. “We have to get better on that.
“We have to clean that up.”
CAK head coach Travis Mozingo said he felt the Warriors had to gamble while the game was still close, and noted his team had to keep the ball away from Jefferson.
“We made an executive decision to try the onside kick,” Mozingo said. “We’ve tried one in every game this year.
“You saw what happened when we kicked (to Jefferson). Kick an onside kick, kick it out of bounds, kick it anywhere but to him.”
The successful special teams play definitely provided a spark for the Warriors, according to senior Lucas Simpson who had 12 receptions for 106 yards.
“We were able to move the ball after the onside kick and we were able to get in the red zone, we just couldn’t score a touchdown,” Simpson said.
The Spartans had no such problems.
Lewis gave the Spartans a 14-6 lead with a 72-yard run and Armes threw his TD pass to Howard to make it 21-6 with 2:46 left in the opening frame.
Webb erupted for three more touchdowns in the second stanza as Howard, Jefferson and Lewis all scored rushing TDs to make it 42-6.
Howard had a 34-yard touchdown scamper midway through the third quarter.
CAK scored on the final play of the game when Walker Strange connected with Gabel Fulford on a 39-yard touchdown pass.
Strange, a freshman, went 23-of-33 passing for 241 yards and the TD pass.