DERBY — Derby coach Brandon Clark didn’t have to yell following his team’s 42-27 loss to Salina Central on Friday night. With his players huddled around, he gave off an air of disappointment — not anger.
His postgame speech centered around improvement and missed opportunities, and it was something that senior quarterback Tyler Harrison took to heart.
“I’m not worried about the loss,” Harrison said. “We know what we did wrong and we know what we need to do to improve. We will become a better team because of this game.”
Harrison took the loss especially hard as the team’s leader and put a lot of the team’s struggles on himself, but he couldn’t do anything about the athleticism of Salina Central quarterback Shay Wooten and running back Cale Sharp.
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Wooten rushed for 182 yards on nine carries and connected with Darius Moore five times for 217 yards. Each of the completions were the result of a play-action fake. Sharp also added 114 yards on 20 carries.
“Wooten is an athlete for sure. Running the ball is probably his strong point,” Harrison said. “He’s so athletic and fast. He’s almost the exact opposite of me. He did a great job, took what the defense gave him and made plays.”
Salina Central struck quickly and often in the first quarter. Sharp and Wooten used their legs to rip through the Derby defense and set up the play action. Wooten racked up touchdown rushes of nine yards and 48 yards. He then hit Moore for a 39-yard touchdown off of a play-action pass.
Derby tried to counter in the third quarter and shortened the deficit to one touchdown after an 11-yard touchdown run by Evan Oaks and a 53-yard pass from Harrison to Jewell to close out the third. Wooten, however, struck again with a 75-yard run to start off the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.
“It’s frustrating. We can’t rely on the big play, and we can’t let them have all of those big plays,” Clark said. “But I know we’re going to bounce back. It’s the first game. We have good character on this team. One thing they don’t do is not work hard. They always work hard. So I’m concerned about some areas, but if we have a good we in practice we will bounce back.”
Salina Central (1-0) 21 0 7 14 — 42
Derby (0-1) 7 0 13 6 — 27
SC—Sharp 9 pass from Wooten (Veal kick)
D—Oaks 6 run (Shain kick)
SC—Wooten 48 run (Veal kick)
SC—Moore 39 pass from Wooten (Veal kick)
D—Oaks 11 run (Shain kick)
SC—Wooten 38 rush (Veal kick)
D—Grieving 28 pass from Harrison (Shain kick)
SC—Moore 75 pass from Wooten (Veal kick)
D—Jewell 53 pass from Harrison (kick failed)
SC—Wooten 4 rush (Veal kick)
Rushing—Salina Central, Wooten 14-182, Sharp 20-114, Gonzales 6-36. Derby, Oaks 12-59, Harrison 12-(-11).
Passing—Salina Central, Wooten, 5-10-219-3. Derby, Harrison 20-34-284-2.
Receiving—Salina Central, Moore 5-219. Derby, Sparks 12-142, Jewell 4-74-1, Grieving 3-44-1, Oaks 1-33.