VERDIGRIS – All hail his Majesty.
Homecoming King Toby Willis caught three touchdown passes, compiled 184 receiving yards and fired Verdigris to an easy 52-23 victory over Stilwell at Cardinal Stadium on Friday night.
Shortly after being crowned royalty, Willis, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound senior, made sure happy days were here again for the Cards, hauling in an 80-yard touchdown from quarterback Hayden Jones on the home teams’ second play from scrimmage.
Jones and his catchers toyed with the Indians’ secondary, tossing touchdowns almost at will, mostly with no defender within 15 yards.
Jones and backup quarterback Dylan White shredded Stilwell for 356 aerial yards and 486 overall. VHS again used 11 different backs, led by 51 yards from junior Carson Cook.
Stilwell finished with 241 yards, and junior quarterback Geremiah Noisewater was practically the whole show, running for 182 yards and touchdowns of 63, 39 and 46 yards.
Just like last week against Victory Christian, Verdigris put the game away in the first half and brought on a running clock in the second. The Cardinals (2-1) climbed into a 50-7 intermission lead and cleared the bench.
Stilwell turned the ball over five times in the first half, three on fumbles and twice on interceptions, but did experience a couple of rah-rahs.
One came on a 74-yard scoring series when Noisewater dashed 63 yards, faking a handoff to running back Adam Phillips and then keeping down the right flank.
Jarrett Bruner kicked the Indians into a short lived 7-6 lead with 4:51 left in the opening period.
It took the Cardinals just 2:03 to take back the lead.
Jones, who hit 8-of-11 passes with four touchdowns, found Brock Fugate open from 24 yards out, and freshman Caden Parnell ran for two points and a 14-7 VHS lead.
Willis then reached into his bag of tricks and hooked up again with Jones.
Two snaps after Jones rifled a 35-yard throw to Sloan Roller to the Stilwell 42, Jones spied Willis open enough to drive a Peterbilt through the defense and completed a 38-yard touchdown.
Sloan Roller forced a fumble at the Indians’ 8-yard line, and Parnell scored on the next play, then ran for the conversion points, giving the Cards a 28-7 lead with 9:43 to in the half.
Just 2:35 later, Jones hit Willis again, this time from 66 yards, and Willis bolted for the two extra points.
Ahead 36-7, Verdigris seemed eager to add to its lead.
With 5:18 to go in the half, D-back Kaleson Marshall, swiped an attempt from Noisewater and raced down the sideline 78 yards. Giovanni Vergara-Soto booted the point after.
The Cardinals needed just over a minute to score gain when Sloan Roller picked off a Noisewater toss and returned it 11 yards to the Stilwell 19.
Alec James carried twice from there, scoring from eight yards, and following Vergara-Soto’s kick, VHS boasted a 43-point halftime spread.