CENTRAL – Wren used a solid running game and a defense that didn’t break to defeat Daniel 14-7 in a Western AAA game Friday night.
Quarterback Jay Urich ran for both touchdowns for Wren (3-3, 2-1). The Hurricanes defense then stopped Daniel (2-4, 2-1) three times in the red zone in the second half to seal the victory.
“You can’t say enough about the effort our defense gave tonight,” said Wren coach Jeff Tate. “We made the plays when we had to.”
Though there was little rain during the game, field conditions worsened, making the football heavier and harder to handle.
Wren stopped Daniel on downs at the Hurricanes’ 3-yard-line on the first possession of the second half. The Lions came up short on two other drives after reaching the Wren 17 both times. One of those ended when the ball slipped out of quarterback Ben Batson’s hand and was intercepted by Wren defensive lineman Clay McCroskey.
Urich finished with 167 yards rushing, including 146 in the first half. Running back Nathaniel Ekwere added 123 yards, including three for a first down that allowed Wren to run out the clock.
Tate said he thought the running game “was the difference. We were able to run it. They ran it some, but I think we probably did a little bit better preventing them from making big plays in the run game.”
Daniel coach Randy Robinson put the outcome squarely on the Lions’ missed opportunities.
“They didn’t stop us,” he said. “We stopped ourselves all night long. Just the way it happens.”
Back-to-back 26-yard plays sparked Daniel to the game’s initial score. The first was a pass from Batson to Will Swinney to the Hurricanes’ 27. Stephen Kirksey then ran to the Wren one. Batson punched it in from there two plays later for a 7-0 lead with 5:56 left in the opening period.
Urich capped two Wren drives with touchdown runs of 12 yards at 11:21 of the second quarter and 18 yards almost four minutes later.
Kirksey ran for 120 yards for Daniel.