Friday Night Lights return as Wildcats win

The football team runs onto the field to start the first game of the season. The crowd was dressed in green and cheered in support. “Running out was exciting and nerve-racking. Everyone was feeling a ton of emotions,” senior Elijah Barringtine said.

Fridays in the fall welcome a sea of green in the bleachers and the game that brings us all together: football. In the first game of the season, the Wildcats put a tally in the win column as the Churchill Bulldogs were defeated 21-9. 

Although the final score shows a double-digit win, the game was a hard fought battle. WJ was trailing 0-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats recovered a Bulldogs fumble but the resulting touchdown did not count due to a penalty. 

In the second quarter, WJ put points on the board for the first time when junior quarterback Charlie Blessing synced up with junior wide receiver Reid Wisniewski for a large gain down the field. 

“[Charlie and I] played together our freshman year. Ever since then we’ve always connected on and off the field. We are now starting to finally find our connection back from two years ago,” Wisniewski said. 

Blessing played a year of football for the junior varsity team at WJ, transferred to Bullis for his sophomore year, then transferred back. 

After the setup by Blessing and Wisniewski, senior running back Elijah Barringtine was then able to run into the endzone for a touchdown. This brought the Wildcats into halftime with a 7-6 lead over the Bulldogs. 

“Getting the touchdown was super exciting. I felt the momentum shift and we gained a lot of confidence after,” Barringtine said. 

Eight seconds into the second half, Bulldogs quarterback Justin Huebl briefly exited the game due to an injury. While he was on the sideline, Bulldogs wide receiver Zeke Avit stepped in for his position and threw an interception. On the following Wildcats drive, Blessing threw his second interception of the game. This interception led to a Churchill field goal. 

The Wildcats responded with a touchdown drive to regain the lead led by a long run by Blessing.

After leading 14-9 at the end of the third quarter, sophomore defensive lineman Jonny Fisher secured the win with a forced turnover. This turnover led to a touchdown with 2:35 left to play. 

Fisher played the position of quarterback and defensive lineman last year on the junior varsity team. 

“Starting on varsity as a sophomore is pretty awesome. So many people watching and cheering, music playing and the speed of the game is just so much different than JV. Seeing how excited everyone was after the game was an incredible feeling after working hard all summer,” Fisher said. 

This Friday, Sept. 9, WJ will face Whitman at home at 7 pm. The Vikings (0-1) are coming off a loss to the reigning state champion Quince Orchard Cougars, 61-0.