TUSCOLA — If anyone doubted that Jim Ned’s Xavier Wishert is one of the premier running backs in the Big Country, he furnished 211 yards worth of proof in Friday’s Big Country Preps Game of the Week.
Scoring three of Jim Ned’s four touchdowns in a 28-8 win over perennial power Wall, Wishert was the primary weapon in an Indian attack that scratched out 324 total yards.
The Jim Ned defense took much of the spotlight as well, limiting Wall’s vaunted option game to 222 total yards (all on the ground) to lift the Indians (5-1, 2-0 District 3-3A DI), who are now in the district driver’s seat. It was the fifth straight victory for Jim Ned since a season-opening loss to Ballinger.
Wall (4-3, 1-1) was led by Dominic Garcia, with 100 yards on 20 carries.
“They came out with a different defensive front than they’ve shown in the last three weeks,” Jim Ned coach Matt Fanning said. “They went back to their bread and butter with the 4-3 and I’m just really proud of the job our guys did up front making those adjustments.
“They figured it out on the field and we didn’t even have to talk to them much. They sorted it out pretty quick.”
Quick enough to score on their first possession on a 13-yard run from Wishert at the 9:15 mark of the first. Wall’s only lead of the game came on the ensuing possession when Drew Morrison scored on a 1-yard keeper, after which Kye Herbert added a two-point conversion run for an 8-7 edge with 1:36 left in the opening quarter.
From that point forward it was all Jim Ned, with a heavy dose of Wishert and a lot of disciplined defense.
The Indians took the lead for good a the 9:42 mark of the second quarter when Wishert added his second touchdown of the night from a yard out. Two possessions later, Tate Yardley capped a 65-yard, 10-play drive with a 1-yard play-action touchdown pass to Zach Henderson for a 21-7 lead with 37 seconds left in the half.
“It was an amazing win for us,” Wishert said. “To come out and prove what we have and what we can do as a team. Everybody was against us, but we came out and put it to them.”
Wishert closed the scoring with his third touchdown, coming on a 17-yard run with 11:46 to play.
“He’s a fantastic running back,” Wall coach Houston Guy said of Wishert. “He’s got all the intangibles you’re looking for. He’s a tough runner, he’s got skill, he gets to the edge, he’s got balance, he’s got great feet and great vision.
“He’s one of those backs you’d like to see on your sideline if he’s yours. And Jim Ned has a great corps of players around him. They’ve got a quarterback who can spread the ball around and a great offensive line to go with them.”
Jim Ned will next see action when it travels to San Angelo TLCA next Friday. Wall will host Breckenridge on the same evening.
DISTRICT 3-3A DIV. I
JIM NED 28, WALL 8
JN — Xavier Wishert 13 run (Hayden Humphries kick), 9:15
WAL — Drew Morrison 1 run (Kye Herbert run), 1:36
JN — Wishert 1 run (Humphries kick), 9:42
JN — Zach Henderson 1 pass from Tate Yardley (Humphries kick), 0:37
JN — Wishert 17 run (Humpries kick), 11:46
RUSHING — Wall, Dominic Garcia 20-100, Drew Morrison 16-57, Chase Rios 4-33, Key Herbert 2-30, Gabe Haskins 2-2. Jim Ned, Wishert 31-211, Rob Young 7-41, Tate Yardley 3-11, Carson Perez 1-5.
PASSING — Wall, Drew Morrison 0-2-0—0, Gabe Haskins 0-1-0—0. Jim Ned, Tate Yardley 6-13-0—56.
RECEIVING — Jim Ned, Zach Henderson 3-33, Caden Martin 1-10, Wishert 1-8, Braden Lewis 1-5.
RECORDS — Wall 4-3, 1-1; Jim Ned 5-1, 2-0.