Pike High School football coach Derek Moyers figured his offensive line could take control on Friday night. He was right.
Pike used a punishing 1-2 running attack of Taylor Sanders and Derrick Wilkerson to dominate Lawrence Central. Sanders rushed for 159 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns to lead the host Red Devils to a 34-3 rout of the Bears in the regular-season finale. Wilkerson added 154 yards on 18 carries for Pike (5-4).
However, there was a major loss in the victory. The Red Devils’ star senior receiver, Dominique Booth, a Tennessee recruit, suffered a dislocated elbow on a punt return in the first quarter.
“He’ll likely be out for the rest of the season, but we’ll see,” Moyers said. “We’ve never been a one-man team. I have faith in our guys. We’ll keep playing.”
Sanders had touchdown runs of 34, 15 and 7 yards.
“I give all the credit to my ‘O’ line,” Sanders said. “They put in the work in practice. They came out in the game and executed great for us.”
Wilkerson left with a slight shoulder injury late but said he could have played had the game not been wrapped up.
“We kept pounding it,” Wilkerson said. “You have to go with what is working.”
Moyers said he challenged the offensive line before the game.
“We felt this was a game we could grind it out a little bit,” Moyers said. “Derrick and Taylor did a great job running the football. Even Curtis Collins got in there and did a great job.”
Collins capped the scoring with a 5-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
After winning its first three games, Lawrence Central, which won the Class 5A state title last year, has lost six in a row under first-year coach Jed Richman. The Bears played without top junior linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., who had a shoulder injury. Kirkland said he expects to play in the sectional opener against Warren Central.
On a windy night, Pike quarterback Brent Lyles completed just 7-of-23 attempts, but there were several dropped passes.
“We’re not going to make excuses (about the wind),” Moyers said. “The bottom line is we have to catch the ball. (The receivers) will be the first to admit that.”
Lyles and Devin Pearson did connect on an 11-yard TD pass as Pike grabbed a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Lawrence Central could not muster any offense. Moyers challenged his defensive players all week after Carmel rallied for a 40-32 victory last week.
“That’s not us giving up 20 points in 8 minutes. I don’t care who we play,” Moyers said. “They’ve got some good football players at LC and our guys stepped up to the challenge.”
The Bears did not get their first first down until the final 2½ minutes of the first half. Lawrence Central finished with just four first downs.
The Bears, who used two quarterbacks, completed just two passes for minus-4 yards and suffered three interceptions.