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Commanders football wins in blowout

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By John Overby

The WC Commanders improved to 2-4 (1-2) on the season after a 41-13 win against the Thomas Nelson Generals (0-6, 0-2) on Friday night.

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Despite the big win, the Commanders looked to be in trouble early on in the game.

A rushing touchdown by Thomas Nelson junior running back Drew Hurst late in the first quarter represented the first points of the game, as Thomas Nelson jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Head Coach Eric Sagrecy was impressed with how composed his team was, though.

“Our team stayed good and calm,” Sagrecy said. “We preached to them all week to handle themselves like that because we knew we were going to get the best Thomas Nelson had. They’ve been improving all season.”

They would hold that advantage until the 9:13 mark of the second quarter, when the Generals surrendered a long touchdown run to Commanders junior running back Jimmy Wheatley.

It would be Thomas Nelson’s last lead of the game.

WC scored on two more touchdowns in the second quarter by senior running back Tylyn Byas, who was filling in at quarterback for the injured Morgan Churchill.

WC went into halftime ahead 21-7.

After two more scores in the third, WC held a commanding 35-7 lead going into the final period.

It would not be until the first play of the fourth quarter that Thomas Nelson would reach pay dirt again, scoring off of a Stephen Price reception but failing to convert the two-point conversion.

That catch made it 35-13.

The score marked the first multiple-touchdown performance in school history for Thomas Nelson, a program in its first season of playing varsity football.

However, the Commanders would respond with a one-yard touchdown pass from Byas to senior wide receiver Micah Devine to put the score out of reach and to its final tally.

After the win, Sagrecy noted that the team’s biggest key to victory was its effort and unselfishness.

“We played very physical,” Sagrecy said. “We played harder than we have all year. We blocked unselfishly, which is something we’ve been trying to work toward all year long.”

But he knows his team still has a way to go before they can be satisfied.

“We still have to sustain our blocks,” Sagrecy said. “We still had some missed opportunities in the passing game, some chances for big plays…We’ve also got to start limiting our penalties. That’s something that will make us more efficient.”

The Commanders were led on offense by Byas, who ended the game with 86 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 11 attempts. He also contributed through the air with 57 yards and a touchdown on 3-of-9 passing.

Senior Dustin Harmon added 52 yards and a score on the ground while Wheatley ran twice for 90 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, WC allowed 245 yards of total offense to Thomas Nelson but snagged two interceptions and held the Generals’ runners to 2.4 yards per carry.

With a bye this week, Sagrecy and his team will work on “getting healthy, getting 100 percent.”

“Our main focus is to get back where we can get everybody on the field at full strength,” Sagrecy said.

The Commanders’ next game will be at Shawnee next Friday night.