WHITING | Breaking in the new field turf took some time, but Whiting finally got the ball rolling in the “Battle of 119th Street” on Saturday night.
The Oilers scored four second-half touchdowns and rolled up nearly 400 yards of total offense in a 31-6 win over Clark at Ray P. Gallivan Field.
The game capped off a ceremonious night for Whiting that included a field dedication and a reunion of the 1993 sectional championship team.
“I’m living the dream,” Whiting coach Jeff Cain said. “This was maybe the longest day of my life, but it was worth it.”
AJ Veloz threw for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns while star running back Ethan Young accounted for a rushing touchdown and 174 yards of total offense. It took some time for the Whiting offense to get going, especially since the Oilers didn’t get the ball until 33 minutes after the game started.
Clark received the opening kickoff and was driving down the field when junior running back Maurice Dawkins suffered a left elbow injury that delayed the game for nearly 15 minutes.
“As soon as I saw the injury I told the guys to sit tight because it was going to take a while,” Cain said. “We were still on defense and we had to make a couple more plays before we got the ball. That’s no excuse.”
Veloz spread the ball around to a new group of receivers on Saturday night, throwing two touchdown passes to sophomore Martin Petruf while also connecting on big plays with senior Keegan Rooke and sophomore Mitchell Alicea.
“I love those three guys,” Cain said. “Those are the three that will get plugged in when we run some of our sets.”
The Pioneers (0-1) moved the ball well in the first half, but registered just 20 yards of total offense in the second half.
“We played really well for 24 minutes, but unfortunately this is a 48-minute game,” Clark coach Jay Novak said. “I told the guys to rally and play for Maurice. I’m proud of our guys.”
Both coaches were frustrated because of penalties, as the teams combined for 22 penalties for 160 total yards.
“We’ve got a lot of kids who are playing in just their first or second year of varsity football,” Nowak said. “We’ll get back to work on Monday and we’ll take care of (penalties).”