KNOXVILLE — Whether or not the Webb Spartans were shaken by a roughing the punter call in the closing two minutes of the first half, which allowed undefeated Silverdale Baptist Academy to fire a 40-yard touchdown pass just before the break, Dave Meske’s boys came alive when it mattered most.
Down 19-17 entering the fourth quarter, Webb engineered a pair of touchdown drives — while basically shutting down the Seahawks’ offense — en route to a key 31-19 Division II-AA East Region win in David Meske Stadium Friday night, Oct. 8.
“We kept making plays. And these kids have done a great job defensively,” coach Meske said. “I think our front seven has just played marvelous. And our back four have. (Assistant coaches) Jack Moore, Kevin Julian and Chris Trece do a good job with those guys.”
Between senior running back Dominic Vance’s punishing runs up the middle and junior quarterback Charlie Robinson’s elusive runs, scrambles and timely pass completions, the Spartans rallied to improve to 5-1 overall, 4-0 in region.
“It’s great when you have a quarterback who can make plays with his feet,” Meske said. “He throws the ball well; he’s a great athlete, that’s the bottom line.”
Sophomore receiver Markeis Barrett turned Robinson’s slant pass inside the Silverdale 10 into a 16-yard touchdown catch, making it 24-19 Spartans (adding Otto Niendorff’s extra point) with 8:55 to play.
Meanwhile, “I am so proud of Dominic ... he had some big runs and made some plays,” the head coach added.
“First I want to thank my line,” Vance said. “My line really helped pave the way.”
That was especially the case late, when Vance scored from 13 yards out to make it 31-19 (adding Niendorff’s extra point) with 3:43 to play. “My line helped push me in,” the senior running back said.
A bad punt snap resulted in a short Seahawks punt, as Webb started at the Silverdale 32 before Vance iced the game.
“Me and Charlie did what we needed to do,” Vance said.
With Silverdale pulling to within 17-13 (missing the extra point) after the late first-half penalty kept their drive alive, the undefeated visitors scored the only touchdown of the third quarter (missing a two-point conversion).
“We did lose momentum,” Meske said. “You’ve got to play four quarters. But when we make a mistake, we can’t lose our composure. That’s what we’re doing.”
“Things are going to go bad — but this team, we’re not going to stop until the very end,” said Cooper Cameron, Webb sophomore linebacker/offensive lineman.