Running a close second is one which reads Wilson Central 4, Beech 1. That is the turnover statistic.
Wilson Central lost two early turnovers deep in Beech territory and defensive back Garrett Butler returned an Aaron Hubbell interception 35 yards to the end zone for a Buccaneer touchdown.
Those numbers negated Central’s 262-233 advantage in total offense.
“It’s hard to turn the ball over that many times against a good football team, it’s hard to beat them,” Wildcat coach Brad Dedman said after his eighth season opener in charge. “Early on we were inside the 20 and when we turned the ball over way down there it really hurts.”
Beech’s biggest offensive weapon was running back Kaemon Dunlap, who ran 33 times for 185 yards, including a 44-yard touchdown up the middle which made it 21-0 going into halftime. The Bucs finished with a net-167 rushing yards. Quarterback Nelson Smith hit 3 of 7 passes for 66 yards, including a 58-yard scoring strike to receiver Dyilin Hoosier behind the Central secondary.
But the Bucs missed a scoring chance as well as Dunlap was twice thrown for loss and Smith was sacked by defensive end Dalton King back at the 23-yard line after getting first and goal at the 2. A 39-yard field goal was blocked by Kalib Grave.
But Beech got the score moments later anyway on the pick-six.
“We played pretty well on defense for the most part,” Dedman said. “We had a few breakdowns and the big play hurt us early on. Defensive-wise, we settled down and answered a few questions that we didn’t know. We didn’t know if we could play a physical football game and on defense, we played a real physical football game.”
Wilson Central’s offense rode the strong right arm of senior Aaron Hubbell, whose fastball completed 21 of 40 passes for 179 yards, including touchdowns of 11 yards to King and 9 to Garrett Todd in the second half.
“We had way too many drops and we had too many people making an arm and bringing us down running the football,” Dedman said. “I’m proud of our offensive line. They’ve taken a lot of heat. They blocked overall pretty well up front all night long. We got to do a better job on the edges.”
Running the hurry-up, Central surged downfield to begin the second half to score when King somersaulted over the goal line with Hubbell’s pass.
In a more desperate mode in the fourth, Central took advantage of a second chance following Beech’s turnover on a muffed punt as Todd dove across the goal line on Hubbell’s 9-yarder.
Central used its two remaining timeouts and its defense to keep Beech from running out the clock. But Beech defensive back Ty Dean won a jump ball in the end zone to pick off Hubbell’s final pass to seal the deal.
The Wildcats will try to bounce back at Smyrna at 7 p.m. next Friday.
Beech 21, Wilson Central 13
Beech 7 14 0 0—21
Wilson Central 0 0 6 7
Beech—Dyilin Hoosier 58 pass from Nelson Smith (Cory Edwards kick), 2:32.
Beech—Garrett Butler 35 interception return (Alex Anki kick), 8:17.
Beech—Kaemon Dunlap 44 run (Anki kick), 5:35.
Wilson Central—Dalton King 11 pass from Aaron Hubbell (run failed), 7:21.
Wilson Central—Garrett Todd 9 pass from Hubbell (Will Lafollete kick), 1:44.
Beech Wilson Central
First downs 9 17
—Rush 8 7
—Pass 1 7
—Penalty 0 3
Rushes-yards 41-167 24-83
Passing yards 66 179
—Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-7-0 21-41-2
Punts-avg. 4-27.5 3-30.0
Penalties-yards 8-67 6-44
Fumbles lost 1 2
RUSHING—Beech: Jahmall Robinson 1-(-4), Nelson Smith 4-(-20), Kaemon Dunlap 33-185, Chaz Williamson 2-(-4), Dyilin Hoosier 1-10. Wilson Central: Michael Powell 7-40, Stratton Farmer 9-44, Kwamez Kirby 2-(-10), Aaron Hubbell 4-4, Zay Kern 2-5.
PASSING—Beech: Nelson Smith 3-7-0—66. Wilson Central: Dylan Carpenter 0-1-0—0, Aaron Hubbell 21-40-2—179.
RECEIVING—Beech: Kaemon Dunlap 1-1, Dyilin Hoosier 1-58, Davis Ward 1-7. Wilson Central: Dalton King 9-69, Garrett Todd 7-81, Michael Powell 2-(-2), Kwamez Kirby 1-11, Zay Kern 2-20.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Beech: Alex Anki 39 blocked.