Dylan Wolff wasn’t nervous anymore in his second start since replacing Effingham injured quarterback Kevin Daugherty Friday night against Charleston.
Despite throwing three interceptions in his first start, Wolff said Friday’s game felt different, for reasons other than it being the Apollo Conference opener and being Effingham’s first win of the season, 26-13.
“Last week, there were a bunch of nerves, but this week I didn’t have any at all,” Wolff said.
Instead, Wolff made big plays that led his team to the 13-point road win, including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Matt Wohltman and a 60-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Myers.
On both plays, Wolff and the offense utilized a mismatch against the defense. Effingham lined up four receivers on one side of the ball against only three Charleston defenders. Wolff threw two screen passes that ended up as his 38-yard and 60-yard touchdown passes.
Wolff said he knew his team had an advantage in numbers as long as they got blocking down the field and Effingham head coach Mike McDonald said he tried to put his players in one-on-one situations.
“We can’t block everybody,” McDonald said. “We try to put our kids in situations, one-on-one, where they can make somebody miss.”
On Wohltman’s touchdown, he weaved through three blocks down field to score up the left sideline.
Myers made an important catch to start his scoring play, McDonald said.
Wolff threw to Myers on a short route and Myers stepped up and caught the ball in front of a Charleston linebacker who was trying to intercept the pass. After the catch, Myers, who McDonald said is the fastest player on the team, made his way 60 yards for a touchdown.
Myers’ score came as a direct answer to a 16-play, 77-yard touchdown drive by Charleston on its first possession of the third quarter. On Effingham’s first play after a kick return to the 40 yard line, Wolff and Myers connected for the touchdown.
The Effingham defense, which shut down Charleston’s running game in key moments of the game, forced an immediate three-and-out to give the ball back to the offense.
“We were a step faster tonight,” McDonald said of his defense. “We had to be. We played them man-to-man and basically had nine guys in the box.”
On the ensuing drive, Effingham only needed two plays to score as Zach Miller rushed for a 53-yard touchdown to give his team a 19-6 lead.
Charleston got the ball back and finished off a 20-play drive for a touchdown with less than five minutes to play in the game and needed a defensive stop, which it hadn’t done in all of the second half.
But on Effingham’s first play after Charleston tightened the game to 19-13, a running play resulted in a fumble that Charleston recovered at Effingham’s 47-yard-line.
Again, the Effingham defense came up with a stop, sacking Charleston quarterback Dallas Wilson on fourth-and-seven. Three plays later, Miller broke away for a 33-yard touchdown run that sealed the deal on the team’s first win of the season.
“It was a long time coming and I’m so glad we got this one,” Wolff said.
Effingham (1-3, 1-0 Apollo) returns home next week for a 7 p.m. game against Salem.
Effingham 0 6 13 7 26
Charleston 0 0 6 7 13
Rushing: Effingham: Miller 8-101-2 TD; Charleston: Decker 39-161-1 TD
Passing: Effingham: Wolff 7-14-173, 2 TD, 0 INT; Charleston: Wilson 6-14-53, 1 TD, 0 INT
Receiving: Effingham: Wohltman 3-74-1 TD, Myers 1-60-1 TD, Arndt 1-14, Miller 1-13, Robinson 1-12; Charleston: Black 5-54, McInerney 2-10, Decker 1-2- 1 TD