William Chrisman coach Matthew Perry was perplexed at what cornerback Zach Rowe did when he intercepted a pass from Ruskin quarterback Jonah Mosier.
Rowe caught the throw in the end zone and took off running.
“At first I thought, ‘Why did he do that?’” Perry said.
He got the ball to the Chrisman 40-yard line when his Bears were clinging to a 13-7 lead with 1:47 left in the third. That play set up a 9-yard TD run for quarterback Osi Nauer early in the fourth quarter as his team finally pulled away in a 25-7 victory over the Eagles in Suburban Middle Seven Conference action.
“He got a long run and gave us a lot of momentum.” Perry said of Rowe’s big interception. “We have certain players we ally around and have a good time with, and he’s one of them.”
Rowe interception and big return was one of a handful of plays from the Bears that allowed them to improve to 2-5 on the season.
Nauer, who connected with freshman wide receiver Sir’Rahn Felix for a 19-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter, hit senior wide receiver Marcus Wigfall for a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 13-0 with 9:20 left in the second period.
It was a highlight-reel snag from Wigfall, as had to reach for a pass that was thrown behind him, tip it to himself and come down with a miraculous catch.
“It was exciting to get my team hyped like that,” Wigfall said. “I just went up and happened to get the ball. I thought I was going to make a one-handed catch but I just tipped it to myself.”
Added Perry: “He had a Sportscenter highlight. It was a great play. Marcus is having a phenomenal year. He works his tail off and is a great kid.”
Nauer said he was relieved after Wigfall came down with it.
“He definitely saved my life on that one,” Nauer said with a smile. “He caught it behind him, I should have led him more.”
Ruskin didn’t get a first down until midway through the second period. The Eagles (1-6) finally broke through when Mosier hit Michael Moore with a swing pass and he scored on a 29-yard catch and run to make it 13-7 late in the second quarter.
That score held until halftime and despite a Nauer interception and a lost fumble on the opening kickoff in the second half, the defense helped Chrisman keep the lead. The defense held Ruskin to a total of just 162 yards. Nauer and Wigfall contributed to that with an interception each.
Rowe’s pick jump started a run of 12 points for the Bears. Chrisman running back Kameron Thompson, who had a career-high 113 yards on 16 carries, iced the game with a 57-yard TD run late in the fourth to put it away.
“Oh my God! It felt great!” Thompson said. “I missed a couple of games with an injury so it was great to get in the end zone after missing some time.”
Thompson was a welcome addition to the Bears’ offense as he had missed the last two games with a groin injury.
“He was ready to play today and he showed it,” Nauer said.
Nauer completed 5 of 7 passes for 57 yards and two scores, he also ran for 64 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
“Considering that I didn’t complete a pass in my first game, I feel like I am getting a lot better (passing),” Nauer said. “I have been trying to trust myself more throwing the ball.”