A week after the Yellowjackets’ hurry-up spread debuted against Live Oak in impressive fashion, Williams quarterback Hunter Povlsen ran into a brick wall. Repeatedly.
On Friday, an aggressive Durham defense battered the senior quarterback for a total of eight sacks (seven of which came in the first half) and pressured him into four interceptions (three of which came in the second half) as the Trojans marched to a 27-12 victory in Durham.
Senior defensive end Kyle Sinclear was a one-man wrecking crew for Durham’s swarming defense. Sinclear was continually a thorn in the Yellowjacket’s side, tallying 7 tackles, 3.5 sacks, an interception, and a pass defensed. He was just as explosive on offense. Also the Trojan’s starting tight-end, he led his team in receiving with 71 yards and two touchdowns on just four catches.
While Williams’ offense struggled for most of the game, their defense was solid for the better part of three quarters. Both units started the night auspiciously. Williams’ defense allowed just 19 yards and a single first down on Durham’s first three possessions, with each drive ending in a punt. The Yellowjackets’ offense was the first to put points on the board, when Povlsen hit a wide open Aldo Ambriz for a 25-yard touchdown through the air with just under two minutes left in the first quarter. After a missed extra point, the ‘Jackets were up 6-0.
Durham head coach Brev Creech said that while his team was prepared for Williams’ new-look, hurry-up offense, his team was more surprised by the defensive effort the Yellowjackets put up early in the game.
“We weren’t able to run the ball well in the first half. They stopped us.” Creech said after the game, adding that his team has also struggled to find it’s legs early in games. “We’re notoriously slow starters, which we don’t like.”
The Trojans were able to get things going on both sides of the ball late in the first half.
After two fruitless possessions apiece to open the second quarter, Durham engineered a 10-play, 85-yard scoring drive. Star senior quarterback Adin Dubose – who to that point had completed just 1-of-11 passes – went 5-of-6 for 80 yards on the drive, finishing it with a 35-yard scoring strike to Sinclear. Durham took a one-point lead after the extra point with 3:21 left in the first half. After forcing a Yellowjackets’ three-and-out, the Trojans scored again following a seven-play, 52-yard drive, when Dubose found Colby Del Carlo in the right flat, and Del Carlo scampered in from seven yards out with 48 seconds left in the half, putting Durham up 14-6.
Durham cornerback Seth Moody picked off Povlsen on William’s next play from scrimmage and returned it to Williams’ 39-yard line with 35 seconds remaining, and the Trojans threatened to increase their lead to two scores before the half. On second-and-goal from the 8-yard line with just four seconds on the clock, Yellowjackets’ defensive tackle Anthony Davalos sacked Dubose before he could find an open receiver to keep the Trojan’s lead at eight points.
The two teams traded possessions to open the second half, before Sinclear picked off Povlsen to set up Durham with a first-and-10 deep in Williams territory, at the 27-yard line. Two plays later, Dubose hit Sinclear for his second receiving touchdown – this one from 24 yards out – and an extra point put Durham up 21-6.
A surprise onside kick by the Trojans was unsuccessful and gave the Yellowjackets the ball near midfield, and four straight runs from Diego Jauregui and Samuel Navarro set them up with a second-and-10 at Durham’s 28. Povlsen was picked off again, this time by Seth Moody, but the ‘Jackets caught a huge break when Durham was flagged for pass interference on the play. Williams was unable to capitalize on the big break, and went backwards on the back-to-back plays before Durham’s Jeremy Schafer snagged another interception and returned it to his own 21-yard line. This time, there were no flags.
Williams caught another huge break on Durham’s next play from scrimmage, when Dubose hit sophomore Jace Buck for an apparent 79-yard score, but it was called back due to an illegal procedure penalty. The Yellowjacket’s defense did capitalize, holding Durham to a three-and-out, and Williams took possession at Durham’s 47-yard line after the punt. After Jauregui gained two yards on first down, Povlsen was sacked by Durham sophomore Jacob Christensen for a loss of 10 yards, and a Buck interception gave Durham the ball back once again with just 46.4 seconds left in the third quarter. With Buck’s interception, Williams’ sideline – which to that point had remained raucous despite the two-score deficit – fell silent.
Durham took to the ground to run clock in the second quarter, with Christensen and Del Carlo gashing the Yellowjackets for big chunks before Moody finished the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown, giving Durham a 27-6 lead. Williams was able to get on the board once more after a late Durham turnover gave them the ball and a short field, but the Trojans recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for a win.
“We ran the ball better in the second half, after we got up on them,” Creech said, adding that the Trojans committed to spreading the field and running the ball in the second half. “But I would’ve liked to have been able to run the ball well all game.”
Williams (1-1) looks to rebound this week at home against their rivals, Pierce (2-0), in the Rice Bowl. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM.n