First-game jitters? More like distant memories.
In its first football game of the season, Windsor shook off a slow start offensively, taking advantage of Roosevelt’s turnovers and miscues to control the second half of a nonleague game Friday at H.J. Dudley Field.
The Wizards broke loose from a defensive struggle to top the rugged Rough Riders 24-7.
“Hat’s off to those (Roosevelt) guys,” Windsor coach Chris Jones said. “They’re a tough, physical team. Once we got out of the first quarter — with the penalties and stuff — and we settled down, then things were right for us.”
After the teams played to a 7-7 tie through the first half, the Wizards (1-0) had a 17-0 advantage over the Rough Riders (1-1) in the second half.
Roosevelt, which topped Thompson Valley 34-25 in Zero Week last week, struggled to sustain drives and also found difficulty holding onto the ball, committing a pair of costly turnovers in the second half.
“There are no excuses, we turned the ball over and they executed,” Rough Riders coach Noland Eastin said. “A good team will do that. Ball security is a priority, and kudos to them for taking advantage of it.”
After a first half dominated by defense, Windsor found some wiggle room, taking advantage of short field position.
Wizards junior fullback Jake Shields proved to be a workhorse within Windsor’s option attack.
He carried the ball 15 times for 82 yards, including a pair of second-half touchdowns.
With 4:59 left in the third quarter, Shields capped a two-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown run to put the Wizards up 14-7.
After a 30-minute lightning delay with 5:12 left in the game, Windsor tacked on two more scores — a 20-yard Joe Shermock field goal and a 12-yard Shields run after a Landon Schmidt interception.
“It was fun, it was lots of fun,” Shields said of the hard-fought win. “We all worked as a team, as one brotherhood and we came out with the ‘W.’ ”
Senior quarterback Tanner Bohm engineered the Wizards’ run attack, carrying the ball nine times for eight hard-fought arms, while effectively working with Windsor’s corps of running backs.
Bohm credited the Wizards’ defense for routinely putting the offense in position to put points on the board without having the travel all the way down the field.
“Every year our defense comes out and plays hard,” he said. “Those are some good players over there (on defense). We trust them, they trust us. We always say we have their backs, they have our backs. If I go and throw an interception, what are they going to do? They’re going to come out the next play and get a turnover. We all trust each other.”