By Andy Wolf
As soon as Justin Walter crossed the goal line for the second time in the second half, that winning feeling started to sink in.
Walter’s 2-yard touchdown plunge with 1:06 remaining put St. Wendelin ahead for good, and with Brayden Moon’s two-point conversion run, the Mohawks came away with a 30-22 non-league homecoming win over Toledo Horizon Science Academy Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
“These kids have worked all season and they’ve fought and fought,” St. Wendelin coach Jim Bodart said of his team. “We were touchdown for touchdown with (Horizon) and didn’t quit. That’s hard to do sometimes when you’re not used to winning.”
Walter finished with 150 rushing yards, gaining 129 of those in the second half.
“I challenged Justin, our only junior, to play like a junior,” Bodart said. “He did a phenomenal job for us, running the ball hard for us. He really came through for us.”
Walter scored his first touchdown from 76 yards out, using his speed to hit the left edge and outrace the Jaguars down the field with 1:36 left in the third quarter.
“I wouldn’t have been able to get that without No. 44, Donovan Scudder,” Walter said, crediting his lead blocker. “Without him, I probably would’ve been back (in the backfield). This win is what the boys really needed to get that push into other games. Hopefully, we’ll get more after that.”
The score gave the Mohawks a 22-14 lead, but the Jaguars had a quick answer.
Senior Dashawn Levey scored his second rushing touchdown, from 1 yard away, with no time remaining in the third quarter. Pettaway’s pass to Freeman Brown on the two-point try tied the game at 22-apiece.
Levey finished the game with 11 carries for 184 yards and caught three passes for 90 yards.
Levey also had a pair of touchdown runs called back on penalties on a drive that ended in zero points for the Jaguars.
But his second touch of the game went for a 31-yard touchdown run to give Horizon a 6-0 lead.
After Khaseem Ray picked off Mohawks quarterback Cyle Smith on the next drive, the Jaguars tacked on a 7-yard touchdown run from Pettaway to go up 14-0 after Teveon Ellison pounded in the two-point try.
St. Wendelin was able to answer with a score on its next drive as Smith hooked up with a wide-open Moon for a 29-yard strike.
The play came as the Mohawks were facing a fourth-and-20 after Moon dropped a pass in the end zone five plays earlier.
“I was just happy to see the ball come down in his hands,” Bodart said of the touchdown pass. “There’s a point in the game where somebody has to step up and say ‘All right, it’s is my turn, I’m going to make a play.'”
After the Mohawks’ defense forced a three-and-out, Walter scampered 21 yards and Scudder ripped off a 31-yard run down to the 10-yard line.
Moon capped the drive by going untouched for a 10-yard rushing score with 5:52 remaining. Scudder added the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14-14.
By halftime the Jaguars held a 254-148 yardage edge.
Horizon couldn’t crack the St. Wendelin defense when it needed to, only managing five passing yards in the second half.
“Rob Park had a great game in the center of the field,” Bodart said. “Don Scudder is everywhere on the field, making tackles and making plays. We played a much better defensive effort this week. We started attacking outside-in, shuffling kids in our defensive backfield.”
Scudder totaled 92 rushing yards on 10 carries while Moon added 54 yards on 14 carries.
Ryan Nicholson added a fumble recovery for the Mohawks.
Pettaway finished the contest 6 for 16 with 92 passing yards.
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