Dunbar caught the attention of Simeon.
Timon Watkins turned the challenge into a startling personal expression of his talent and knack for the big play.
The Simeon senior quarterback accounted for 237 total yards and threw three touchdown passes and also exploded for a 60-yard touchdown run as the No. 21 Wolverines throttled the Mighty Men 42-8 Friday night at Gately Stadium.
Behind the electrifying play of quarterback Demoria Harris, Dunbar opened the game with a crisp and flawless eight play, 62-yard drive marked by Harris’ precise 25-yard strike to Jon Charles and the Charles’s explosive runs of 12 and 20 yards that set up Harris’s two-yard touchdown run for the 6-0 Dunbar lead.
Simeon’s dominant interior line sparked by defensive linemen Malik Allen and Amari Antoine nullified Harris.
“After that first possession we started to slow down and play our style,” Allen said. “With Harris we just tried to contain him, not let him get inside and get pressure up the middle.”
Watkins took center stage.
Watkins completed 5 of 8 passes for 110 yards and rushed for 127 yards on five carries in playing just three quarters as Simeon bolted to a 26-8 lead at the break.
“After they scored the coaches told us not to worry about it and just go out there and score some points,” Watkins said.
“On the first touchdown we set them up with the play action because they were looking at Dion Earls because he’s had some big games for us.”
Simeon needed just two plays to knot the score as Raphe Gross returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards on a reverse. On his team’s second play from scrimmage, Watkins threw a 32-yard crossing pattern to Jordan Reid for the tying touchdown.
Watkins completed his first three passes for 102 yards, and each went for a touchdown.
The Wolverines (6-1, 4-0 Redbird) scored on their first three possessions in posting the 18-6 advantage in the opening 14 minutes of play. Watkins thew a backside pass that Dion Earls Jr. escaped down the sideline for a spectacular 53-yard touchdown pass.
After Simeon’s special teams forced a shanked Dunbar punt, Watkins bolted 23 yards up the middle and followed with a beautifully throwback shoulder 17-yard touchdown pass to Matt Fleming.
Dunbar (3-4, 2-2) interrupted the Wolverine run with its final points on a safety after Simeon snapped the ball out of the endzone. Dunbar was its own worst enemy as Mighty Men receivers dropped six Harris passes, including a certain touchdown on the team’s second possession.
“The dropped touchdown pass really hurt us, and we never got the momentum back,” Dunbar coach Glenn Johnson said.
Watkins showcased his surprising speed by ending the first half with a 60-yard burst. “It was a designed play, and I saw it was there and it is the kind of play I’ve always wanted to make,” Watkins said.
Simeon turned the game into a rout by scoring two touchdowns in the closing minutes on Fleming’s 39-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Dakota Turner Jr. and Gross’s 13-yard run.