YORK TWP. â€” When Wellingtonâ€™s football team took the field, it was clear that offense would rule the day.
With quarterback Kull McClurg at the helm, the Dukes earned a 35-28 victory over Buckeye in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division opener for both teams.
McClurg, a 5-foot-10, 168-pounder, did everything for the Dukes. The senior ran for 144 yards, threw for 175 more and totaled four touchdowns as Wellington beat the Bucks for the second straight time.
â€œHe runs the show for us,â€ Wellington coach Matt Stoll said. â€œHe does a great job â€” and even does well for us on defense, which is often overlooked. He runs the option well and makes the right decision.â€
McClurg raced 68 yards on a keeper on Wellingtonâ€™s first play to give the Dukes (4-2, 3-0) an early lead.
â€œWe were working on the option because we saw that some other teams had success running it against them,â€ McClurg said. â€œWe threw in a few counters and traps just to keep them off balance.â€
The big play was a quick response to an interception by McClurgâ€™s favorite target, Erick Saunders, on the first play of the game by Buckeye (2-4, 2-1).
Saunders hauled in three passes for 102 yards, including touchdowns covering 53 and 44 yards.
â€œAll the credit has to go to the line,â€ Saunders said. â€œI am just a skill position player. Without them, I donâ€™t get the chance to make those plays.â€
After falling behind early, Buckeye exploded for a 20-point second quarter and took the lead into the locker room behind Cory Reisner, Shawn Cordes and Darrin Read.
â€œWe have some guys that play their butts off,â€ Buckeye coach Billy Burke said. â€œThey are all playing their butts off, but we just need to be more disciplined.â€
Reisner (25 carries, 108 yards) found paydirt twice during the Bucksâ€™ scoring outburst, with both his short touchdown runs set up by big plays from Cordes and Read.
Read (3 carries, 33 yards, 2 receptions, 22 yards) raced 36 yards on a reverse to set up the Bucksâ€™ first score and Cordes (11 carries, 125 yards) had a 15-yard burst to set up the second.
The Bucks took the lead midway through the third quarter when Josh Bennett (2 catches, 42 yards) hauled in his second touchdown catch of the season â€” and the game â€” to make it 28-21 with 6:49 to go.
McClurg responded by leading the Dukes on two scoring drives, the second set up by an interception by defensive lineman Mark Calhoun.
â€œThe big play of the game was the interception on the screen pass by Calhoun,â€ Stoll said. â€œThat really changed the momentum and turned the tide.â€
Calhoun made another huge play for the Dukes and sealed his teamâ€™s win with a sack of Buckeye quarterback Jesse Horton in the final minute.
â€œThat was pretty big,â€ Saunders said. â€œI missed my assignment on that play and my guy was wide open. That sack was huge.â€