Senior quarterback Zack Watson had a hand in all three of the Wilmot football team's touchdowns Friday night, rushing for two scores and throwing for one, and senior safety Joseph Tanski sealed the game with an interception at his own goal line as the Panthers knocked off Indian Trail, 21-13, in a hardfought non-conference season opener at Frank Bucci Field.
Wilmot failed to gain a first down until 7 minutes, 30 seconds remained in the second quarter, but on the next play Watson found junior Leo Falletti wide open up the seam for a 46-yard touchdown.
Watson scored from a yard out late in the second quarter to give the Panthers a 14-0 halftime lead, and he added a weaving 54-yard scoring run in the third after the Hawks cut the lead to 14-7.
"Right away, everything wasn't clicking offensively," Wilmot coach Keiya Square said. "Our defense was playing well, though, kept us where we needed to be and helped us flip the field position. Then we started getting rolling a bit on offense and were able to put some points on the board."
Watson rushed for 167 yards on 29 attempts.
Indian Trail did most of its damage through the air, as junior quarterback Argjent Ismaili went 16-of-26 for 205 yards, including an 11-yard scoring strike to junior receiver Kameron Lee.
Lee caught six passes for 93 yards, while senior Fred Ferati also made six grabs for 87.
Sophomore running back Xavier McWhorter scored the Hawks' other touchdown on a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter and finished with 74 yards on 17 carries.
But the Hawks lost two fumbles and committed 12 penalties for 103 yards. One holding penalty wiped out a touchdown in the first quarter and another pushed them back from Wilmot's goal line, setting up Tanski's pick.
"I told the kids since I walked in the door three years ago (as head coach), 'The most disciplined team will win the game,'" Indian Trail coach Paul Hoffman said. "They were the most disciplined team. It's as simple as that."
Waterford 15, Bradford 0
The visiting Red Devils held Wolverines' standout running back Tanner Keller mostly in check through halftime of the season opener.
But in the second half, Keller struck for two touchdowns, and that was more than enough offense for the Wolverines in the non-conference victory.
Waterford held a 3-0 halftime lead before Keller scored on a 1-yard run midway through the third quarter, followed by an 85-yard sprint to the end zone to seal things in the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines led 3-0 on a 27-yard field goal by Michael Durand in the first quarter. Bradford senior kicker Arjan Osmani nearly tied the game on a 44-yard field-goal attempt of his own late in the first half, but his kick, which had the distance, struck the right upright.
There were positives to build from, but also plenty to work on, Bradford coach Troy Bowe said.
"We did play well on defense, and we started six sophomores on defense," he said. "(Waterford) has a couple really explosive backs. We let (Keller) out one time. If we get that back, we hold them to nine points.
"... Offensively, we have to play with a lot more sense of urgency. We were just very lackadaisical tonight with no sense of urgency, no hurry. If we're going to go no-huddle, we have to go fast."
Keller had 77 yards rushing in the first half — thanks in large part to runs of 30 and 22 yards. He unofficially finished the night with 221 yards on the ground.
As a junior, Keller was a Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State honorable mention selection after he rushed for 1,772 yards.
Tremper 43, Milwaukee Pius XI 7
The Trojans scored the game's first 43 points in cruising to a non-conference win in their season opener at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee.
Tremper coach Jared McGranahan was happy but noted there's plenty of room for improvement.
"We'd be really crisp about four out of five plays, and the fifth play we'd have an error," he said. "We did things really well, and the good news is, we've got a lot of room to grow.
"... The good news is, (they) were correctable errors. Overall, I'm pretty happy with things. We got a solid win."
Christian Life 24, St. Thomas More 12
Talk about making a splash in a varsity return.
In their first varsity game since the 2015 season, the Eagles scored the first time they touched the ball when — after the Cavaliers took a 6-0 lead on the game's opening drive — CLS senior Jacob Shaffer returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to tie the game and spark his team's season-opening non-conference victory.
CLS also scored on junior CJ McDaniel's 5-yard run, senior quarterback Austin Eifert's 2-yard keeper and a 42-yard run by Shaffer with 11:06 left in the game.
The game was played at St. Francis.
Racine Case 26, Central 0
The visiting Eagles blanked the host Falcons in a non-conference season opener in Paddock Lake.
Sophomore Jakob Simmons led Central with 32 rushing yards, while senior quarterback Gavin Carlson passed for 61, 43 of those to sophomore Michael Mulhollon.
For Case, Ben Brawner threw touchdown passes of 13, 16 and three yards to Nick Fugiasco.