Devante Wilkerson was lying on the ground in agony in the third quarter, his teammates urging him to get up from the sideline.
It was understandable. With him on the field, William Chrisman was leading Grandview 14-7. But injuries midway through the second quarter and early in the third opened the door for a 48-27 Grandview victory Friday night at Independence All-School Stadium.
Devante’s twin brother Dalvin nearly picked up the slack for him, but it was too late to salvage a victory. The brothers combined for 322 yards rushing and three Chrisman touchdowns on only 15 carries – a 21.5-yard-per-carry average.
“We talk all the time about how he and I need and want to make a difference for this team,” said Dalvin, who totaled 152 yards and one TD on nine carries after his brother posted 170 and two scores on just six carries.
They made a big difference for the 0-2 Bears, but penalties, injuries and Grandview’s big plays only added up to a loss.
“If we eliminate the mistakes, tackle better, don’t jump offsides, we are in this game,” Chrisman head coach John Crutcher said. “We keep putting ourselves in bad situations offensively, and we’re not the kind of team that’s going to convert third-and-22’s very often. “ … But our kids keep playing no matter what. They’re fighters.”
The Bears got off to a promising start. Devante Wilkerson took advantage of a big hole, darted outside and ran for a 71-yard touchdown on just Chrisman’s second play.
“We try to get the ball in their hands as much as possible. They can take it all the way from anywhere on the field,” Crutcher said of the Wilkersons. “It was good to see him hit that home run that quick, but it might have been a little too quick because it put our defense right back on the field. I’d like to grind it out a little more, but I like putting points on the board too.”
Grandview took advantage of a Chrisman fumble to tie it on a Darrian Aldridge 1-yard quarterback sneak with 6:35 left in the first.
Devante – on the exact same trap play – raced 78 yards to put the Bears up 14-7 less than a minute later.
Grandview tied it again on Aldridge’s 21-yard pass to Ry’one Winters at the 8:03 mark of the second quarter before Devante suffered his first injury on the kickoff return.
With Devante trying to work his leg back to health, the Bulldogs took advantage of his absence, scoring on another Aldridge 2-yard sneak and an Aldridge 6-yard run with 40 seconds left to take a 28-14 halftime advantage.
Grandview quickly put it out of reach early in the second half. Desmond Tyson’s 46-yard run set up Jerel Alexander’s 10-yard TD run. Just over two minutes later, new quarterback Reggie Collier threw a 63-yard TD pass to Winters for a 42-14 Grandview lead.
Devante re-entered but was injured on a 15-yard run and had to be helped off the field by the trainer and Dalvin.
“I actually started crying a little when he went down that second time,” Dalvin said. “I had to take that emotion and go out there and do it.”
Dalvin did do it. He took a sweep around the left end and raced 64 yards for a score with 9:25 left to play.
Following 61-yard punt return for a score by Grandview’s Ronny Johnson, Dalvin reeled off a 68-yard run to set up Jaylen Robinson’s 1-yard score with 1:53 left.
Crutcher said that he thought Devante’s injury wasn’t serious. The Bears were already without all-conference defensive back Bret Wolf, who has a hand injury. And receiver Michael Johnson also went down with an injury.
Chrisman quarterback Gannon Ogle completed 8 of 15 passes for 65 yards.
“We’re still young and trying to learn how to win,” Crutcher said. “And our passing game is not there yet, and we’re so young on the offensive line. We’re trying to get better.”