Coming off a disappointing loss and trailing an undefeated county rival, Mohawk High coach Tim McCutcheon called on one of the smallest players on his roster when he needed an offensive boost.
Luckily for McCutcheon and the Warriors Josh Wilkins and his right foot were a perfect three-for-three on field goals as Mohawk held a potent Neshannock offense scoreless in a 15-7 upset victory Friday night.
“Everyone wants to score seven when you get down there, but in a game like this it’s hard to get in that end zone sometimes and getting points on the board can be big,” McCutcheon said. “In this case, it was enough to get us the win.”
It’s the first win for the Warriors (1-0 conference, 2-2 overall) over their Lawrence County rival since 2007 and the first time since becoming Midwestern Athletic Conference rivals four years ago.
“It’s been four years since they’ve been in our section and we haven’t beat them since they came into our section,” McCutcheon said. “I don’t know how long it was prior to that and I guess it doesn’t concern me.
“That’s more for the historians. We just know we beat an extremely good football team that was scary to watch on tape. I’m proud of my guys.”
Wilkins opened the scoring with the game’s only points in the first quarter on a 25-yarder.
He added a 35-yarder late in the third quarter to cut Neshannock’s lead to 7-6, before trotting out for the potential go-ahead points with just over six minutes left in the game.
From the right hashmark, Wilkins boomed the 37-yarder through the uprights to retake the lead in a game both teams had trouble moving inside each other’s red zones.
Wilkins also plays for the Warriors boys soccer team.
“I just lined it up,” said Wilkins, who wears number 42 and stands just 5-foot-8, 145 pounds.
“It’s the same thing as always. I just get my aiming point and kick it. You can’t overthink it.”
McCutcheon said when the offense drives into its opponents’ 40, it’s time to get the sophomore ready.
“We know we have that,” McCutcheon said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t given him enough live reps this year but you’re able to see what a difference that is.”
Mohawk put the game on ice after Marc Conti intercepted Neshannock’s Kurt Sommerfeld and the Warriors offense worked the clock before quarterback John Voss scored on a 16-yard sweep for the 15-7 advantage with 2:04 left.
Neshannock marched down the field on the ensuing possession and threatened to score, but ultimately Sommerfeld fumbled in the last-ditch attempt.
Neshannock’s only points of the night came on a second-quarter, 97-yard pick-six by Cam’Ron Owens. Neshannock’s usually potent offense — the Lancers (0-1 conference, 3-1 overall) came into Friday’s contest averaging 36 points per game — was held scoreless.
Voss was 17 for 24 on the night passing with 186 yards, but was picked off once. AJ Carnuche led Mohawk’s ground attack with 44 yards. Boden Leslie caught five balls for 33 yards, while Daunte Retort had two catches for 58 yards.
“I’ve coached some teams where we always hope to coach our best and prepare them the best we can, but we know going into games it would take an awful lot for us to get the win,” McCutcheon said. “We thought that this team had the potential to be a good football team. I told them potential is that old word that usually ends in failure.”