On Friday night the Independence Patriots celebrated homecoming with a 48-0 conference win over the Garinger Wildcats.
With starting quarterback Arnold Taylor side lined with a knee injury he sustained in last week’s Butler game, Coach Natoli called on senior wide receiver Shai Wheeler to start at the quarterback position.
Indy’s offensive line play enabled Wheeler to complete 4-of-5 passes for 134 yards and two touchdown throws. At game’s end Wheeler had 231 yards of total offense.
Indy took the opening kickoff on its own 35 yard line and drove down the field for a Davion Nelson touchdown run, and the Patriots never looked back.
Indy’s defense also got in on the acton. Defensive back Omar Zazueta picked off a first quarter pass that resulted in a Shai Wheeler to Trevor Bryan 45 yard touchdown pass. With 36 seconds left in the first quarter the defense forced the Garinger quarterback out of the pocket. During the quarterback’s scramble the ball came out, and Taejuan Smith picked up the loose ball and ran for an 18 yard touchdown make the score 23-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter both Shai Wheeler and Brevin Caldwell scored for the Patriots and Indy took a 35-0 halftime lead.
In the second half Indy’s Davion Nelson and Brevin Caldwell each scored their second touchdowns before Coach Natoli started substituting his players. The Patriots took the conference victory 48-0.
Garinger 0 0 0 0 – 0
Independence 23 12 13 0 – 48