Simeon has a direct and clear-eyed philosophy about its offensive attack: Be fast and free. “Our coach always tells us to play fast,” senior quarterback Timon Watkins said. “The faster we play, the quicker we score.”
Watkins made a cameo appearance but he made every play count in pairing with electrifying skill player Dion Earls Jr. as the Wolverines scored four touchdowns in a six-minute second quarter flurry to ravage Lane 45-0 in the opening of conference play Friday night at Gately.
Playing just three offensive series, Watkins threw two touchdown passes and Earls Jr. showcased his all-around brilliance by scoring on a 56-yard run, a 35-yard pass and a 57-yard punt return as the Wolverines (3-1, 1-0 Redbird) seized a commanding 35-0 lead at the break.
The victory extended the Wolverines’ conference winning streak to 30 games dating to the 2008 season. “We wanted to send a message, and I think we did that,” Watkins said.
On Simeon’s second play from scrimmage, Earls Jr. (three carries, 64 yards) took the inside handoff out of the shotgun formation and ran untouched for the opening score.
Aided by a roughing the punter penalty, the Indians (2-2, 0-1) mounted an 18-play drive that reached the Wolverines’ 26-yard line. Simeon’s pressure forced Lane quarterback William Yerkes to throw consecutive incompletions that ended the drive. The 10-minute possession only delayed the inevitable.
“It was just hard work and determination,” Earls Jr. said of his stunning first half play. He caught a swing pass from Watkins on the Wolverines’ second possession and burst down the left sideline for the 35-yard score. “We had a good pre-read on the play, and saw that if the linebacker didn’t come over on me that I’d be open there,” he said.
After Simeon’s defense forced a Lane three-and-out, a shanked punt from midfield caught Lane off-balance and Earls Jr. completed his remarkable play by alertly grabbing the ball off the bounce and running down the sideline for a 21-0 lead. “I just wanted another touchdown at that point,” he said.
Lane ran more than twice as many plays from scrimmage (35) in the first half than the Wolverines (14). Astoundingly, Simeon needed only 10 plays from scrimmage to score five first-half touchdowns.
Watkins (4-5, 57 yards, two touchdowns) also threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Reid (three catches, 60 yards, two touchdowns) off a Lane turnover. His name was done. “To be honest, I’d like to play a little longer, just to get more reps,” he said.
Simeon has a lot of young talent coach Dante Culbreath wants to showcase. Junior quarterback Dakota Turner Jr. threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Reid following a 21-yard punt return by Earls Jr.
Junior running back Qwentn M. Bolton streaked 53 yards on the opening play of the third quarter for the Wolverines’ final touchdown. Kicking specialist Craig Barnes converted 6-of-6 extra points and nailed a 20-yard field goal.
Simeon’s defense forced three turnovers and limited Lane to 80 yards of total offense. “We wanted to get the game over as quickly as possible,” Earls Jr. said.
“We just wanted to show everybody what we have.”