UNION TOWNSHIP | Boone Grove head coach Tony Tinkel fought back tears after the end of his team’s season-opening contest against Wheeler.
His team, coming off a one-win campaign last year in its first varsity season, upset Wheeler 30-12 on Friday night on the strength of 281 yards of total offense and four touchdowns from Cody Poynter.
“This is awesome,” Tinkel said. “These kids have worked so hard for three years.
“We knew it was going to be a good game, but we came out and we did not back down. That was a key for us. We stood right up to them, and we took it to them (Friday).”
The loss was Wheeler’s first in a regular-season game since 2007.
Poynter finished with 222 rushing yards on 27 carries. He also caught two passes for 59 yards.
“He’ll give me everything he’s got,” Tinkel said of Poynter. “The heart in that boy is huge.”
“I’m still not tired,” Poynter added. “I could play another quarter.”
Tom Burton intercepted Wheeler quarterback Alex Ruesta on the first play of the game, and Poynter dashed into the end zone from 23 yards out on the following play to put Boone Grove ahead for good.
Poynter ripped off a 57-yard score to put the Wolves up 21-6 late in the second quarter. Earlier, he capped a 12-play, 60-yard drive with a six-yard run, and he closed out the scoring with a 47-yard run late in the third quarter.
Poynter finished with five carries of 10 yards or more, including three that went for more than 20 yards.
Boone Grove (1-0) outgained Wheeler 330-181 and had a 16-8 edge in first downs. Dean Hill completed four passes for 86 yards for the Wolves.
“I told (the team) there is a difference between working hard and being ready,” Wheeler coach Tony Klimczak said. “There’s no doubt that we have continued to work hard, but we just weren’t ready to play ball tonight.”
Derek Hartwig scored from one yard out late in the first quarter to get the Bearcats (0-1) within one at 7-6, but Wheeler would get no closer the rest of the way.
Jeremy Truchan returned a punt 75 yards for Wheeler’s only other score.
The Wolves, who had 244 rushing yards, had a 14-play drive to start the third quarter that did not result in points but did take seven minutes off the clock.