Explosive plays lift Wilson to win over Reading High in high school football

Sep. 16—Led by quarterback Tom Hunsicker and wide receiver Madyx Gruber, the Wilson offense put on a show Friday night.

Hunsicker connected with Gruber for three touchdowns and the Bulldogs moved the ball with big plays to earn a commanding 38-14 win over Reading High in a Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1 opener at Gurski Stadium in West Lawn.

"What we wanted to do was make a statement, put points on the board," Hunsicker said. "It's just a good win."

The Wilson offense did just that, racking up 24 points in the first quarter to cruise to the victory. The Bulldogs finished with 262 passing yards and averaged 7.1 yards per play overall.

"We've got big-play capability," Wilson coach Doug Dahms said. "Any time you can make those quick strikes, we'll take it."

Hunsicker, a senior, finished 10-for-13 passing for 241 yards and four touchdowns. His top target was Gruber, a junior, who finished with six catches for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

"We were waiting for it to happen," Dahms said about Gruber's performance. "Tonight, he broke out. Between him and Eddie (Case) and (Austin) Valukevich, we got a nice combination of receivers there that are going to give some people some problems."

Kicker Ben Rada put Wilson on the board early in the first quarter with a 26-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs (1-0, 2-2) extended their lead less than a minute later, as the Red Knights fumbled the ball on an option play deep in their own territory and Wilson linebacker Cam Zullinger scooped up the ball and ran it 5 yards for a touchdown to make it 10-0. The junior finished with one tackle for loss and the scoop-and-score.

Wilson added to its lead late in the first quarter when Hunsicker connected with Case for a 27-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs scored again just over a minute later, as Hunsicker found Gruber, who made a one-handed catch, for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 24-0.

"That was probably the most insane play I've ever seen here," Hunsicker said about the one-handed catch. "Great concentration, great play."

Hunsicker found Gruber again with less than two minutes remaining in the second quarter for a 21-yard score to make it 31-0. The pair continued their big plays on the opening drive of the second half when Hunsicker hit Gruber for a 38-yard touchdown.

"We're a lot better than we were in Week 1," Hunsicker said. "The athleticism we have with our skill players, any play could break open for a touchdown."

Trailing 38-0, Reading High (0-1, 1-3) got on the board midway through the fourth when quarterback Jason Plyaharn connected with running back Xavier Beatty for a 70-yard touchdown. The Red Knights cut further into the Bulldogs' lead with just over two minutes remaining, as Plyaharn found running back Cameron Small for a 22-yard touchdown.

Plyaharn finished 4-for-9 passing for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Small had two catches for 26 yards and the score and 53 rushing yards on 12 carries.

"We took a step forward," Dahms said. "We got to keep working on all the little things."