Waynesburg bounces back, thumps Thiel
Waynesburg quarterback Carter Hill (6) scores on a three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter Saturday against Thiel. Hill passed for 314 yards and three first-half scores in Waynesburg’s 35-21 victory.
Mark Marietta / For the Observer-Reporter
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WAYNESBURG – For a guy who had the reputation in high school of being a better runner than passer, Waynesburg University junoir quarterback Carter Hill has been having quite an impressive season throwing the football.
Hill completed 31 of 40 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns Saturday afternoon as Waynesburg bounced back from its only loss of the season with an easy 35-21 victory over Thiel in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference game at John F. Wiley Stadium.
Hill engineered a quick start by the Yellow Jackets (2-1, 4-1) that made for a happy homecoming for Waynesburg alums. Working primarily in a no-huddle offense, Hill threw all of his touchdown passes in the game’s first 10 minutes as the Yellow Jackets forged a quick 21-0 lead.
“We looked pretty good,” Hill said. “We had a great week of practice. The key to the start of the game was tempo. The game plan was simple. The coaches gave us some base plays and we played fast.”
Waynesburg scored four plays into the game, when Hill rolled to his left and connected with wide receiver Willie Leavell for a 31-yard touchdown. The Yellow Jackets made it 14-0 with their second four-play scoring drive of the first quarter, capped by Hill hitting wide receiver Bernie Thompson on a slant for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Yellow Jackets slowed the tempo on its next possession and used 12 plays to cover 56 yards, with Hill finding Thompson alone in the back right corner of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown and 21-0 lead with 5:14 remaining in the opening quarter.
Hill completed his first nine passes, and ended the game with 18 consecutive completions.
“He came out smoking,” Waynesburg coach Rick Shepas said of Hill. “When we get the right game plan and it feels good for him, nobody is better. He even called some of the plays at the line of scrimmage.”
Hill has passed for 1,484 yards and 14 touchdowns with only one interception this season. Not bad for a guy who admits he did more damage as a runner at Crestview High School in Columbiana, Ohio. A three-year starter at Crestview, Hill ran a spread offense similar to what Waynesburg utilizes. Hill lost only “three or four games” as a high school quarterback and is 8-2 since becoming Waynesburg’s starter at midseason last year.
“He’s a winner,” Shepas is quick to say.
Hill pushed Waynesburg’s lead to 28-0 when he capped a 68-yard drive late in the third quarter with a three-yard touchdown run on the zone read. It was the first career rushing touchdown for Hill, who transferred to Waynesburg from Tiffin.
Waynesburg was able to bounce back from a 49-28 loss last week at No. 25-ranked Thomas More.
“I wanted to see what our attitude was going to be coming off that loss,” Hill said. “This week was a test of character for some kids. We’re a young team. The overall attitude was high. We wanted to get that bad taste of the loss out of our mouths.”
Thiel (0-4, 0-6), which was held to 135 yards and nine first downs through the first three quarters, did all its scoring in the final 14 minutes. Sparked by backup quarterback Ryan Radke, who rushed for 123 yards on 10 scrambles and one well-executed draw play, the Tomcats at least built some momentum to carry into next week’s game against Saint Vincent.
Radke threw two touchdown passes and had a 2-yard scoring run, the latter with 25 seconds to play.
Thiel’s fast finish did nothing to diminish what had been a fine performance by a Waynesburg defense that had been allowing 425 yards and 20 points per game.
“We did a better job of tackling, and got back to basics and trusting everyone on the defensive side,” Shepas said.
Jake Forstythe capped Waynesburg’s scoring with a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. … The Yellow Jackets rushed for only 98 yards on 28 attempts. Hill was the leading rusher with 51 yards on five carries. “We want to run the ball better. We’re going to make the commitment to get better at that. We have to get better,” Shepas said. … Waynesburg’s defense had three sacks, one each by Brandon Fedroka, Josh Tolliver and Zach Machuga.