Sep. 4—WARNER — The Rafe Watkins Era at Warner is off and running, and in style.
Senior running back Mason Jim rushed for 158 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns, quarterback Jace Jackson had 119 on 14 and two scores and threw for 69 yards and a touchdown, and the Eagles gave the veteran coach a 54-0 debut win at Eagle Field on Friday.
Warner's only non-scoring drive was its first one. Jim fumbled at the Savanna 1 on the end of a 64-yard march, turning the ball over. But the Eagles' defense forced the safety on a loose snap and itself was en route to holding the Bulldogs to just 65 yards of offense and five first downs.
Warner, meanwhile, had 30 first downs, 379 yards rushing and 483 yards all told.
"We've been holding off on putting in our counter and just went with our zone and stretch up until late," Watkins said. "Our outside quarterback sweep, our belly play and our counter were all ran well tonight. Our counter trap was just incredible."
That was what a good chunk of Jim's yardage came on after the early snafu.
"We talk about handling adversity," Jim said. "I admit I kind of lowered my head and the guys were like 'forget about it.' I forgot about it, no more of that."
Jackson excelled on the quarterback sweep. He also found Callen Park behind a defender in the end zone for six as Park jumped up from behind and hauled in the catch for a 28-yard touchdown play, making it 28-0 with 4:26 until the half.
Also on defense, defensive lineman Hunter Girty harassed in the trenches all night. Linebacker Carson Parks had an interception in the first half and Jeremiah Pearson another in the second half. Both led to touchdowns. The second, an 87-yard march, was the longest on the night for the Eagles and made it 41-0 on their first drive of the third quarter.
"We lost some big guys up front and we as linebackers knew we had to step up and do our part," said Parks. "(Girty) was a hoss out there, just flying around. I really felt like our cohesiveness showed out there."
"We're not very big," added Watkins. "That could be our downfall at some point but on the other hand, we are pretty quick and we've had good numbers in the weight room. As quick as we are, I like what I saw tonight."
Back to the offense, even the backup run game got into the scoring act. King Harrison took it in on a 4-yard run and Preston Cannon a 10-yard run, both in the fourth quarter after the starters exited with 1:14 to play in the third.
Warner found the end zone on eight of nine drives for the game — definitely a good start for the former Muskogee head coach.
"We're not really foreign here to new coaches," said Parks. "When he came in we saw that he's a leader, he knows what he's talking about and its easy to follow him."
WARNER 54, SAVANNA 0
Savanna 0 0 0 0—0
Warner 9 25 7 13 — 54
WHS-Safety, fumble recovered in end zone, 9:16.
WHS-Mason Jim 5 run (Keden Moseley kick), 6:16.
WHS-Jace Jackson 6 run (Moseley kick), 11:46.
WHS-Jim 9 run (kick blocked), 6:30.
WHS-Callen Park 28 pass from Jackson (kick blocked), 4:26.
WHS-Jackson 14 run (kick failed), :36.4
WHS-Jim 9 run (Moseley kick), 2:59.
WHS-King Harrison 4 run (Moseley kick), 9:50.
WHS-Preston Cannon 10 run (kick failed), 3:44.
First Downs 5 30
Rushes-Yards 28-18 54-379
Passing Yards 47 104
Passes C-A-I 9-14-2 5-7-0
Punts-Avg. 6-26 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-55 7-61
Rushing: WHS, Jim 18-158 (3 TD), Jackson 14-119 (2 TD).
Passing: SHS, Fry 9-14-47-2. Jackson 5-7-69 (TD).
Receiving: SHS, Tracyn Eldridge 2-24. WHS, Park, 2-69 (TD).