Edgewood’s defense forced four turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown by Kaleb Varner, on its way to a 35-8 win over Northside Methodist in Friday night’s season opener. Varner finished with two interceptions and the Wildcats recovered two fumbles, setting the offense up with a short field several times throughout the night.
“Any time you get turnovers on defense, it’s a good thing,” Edgewood coach Darryl Free said. “They set us up with great field position. The defense played a great game.”
The Wildcats opened the scoring after just four minutes of action with a 27-yard touchdown run from Trey Killingsworth. He was one of nine players to record a rushing attempt for Edgewood as the offense got its first look at its new running back by committee.
Killingsworth finished with 41 yards on five attempts while Mitchell Boyd led the team with 42 yards on seven attempts. Blaine Guthrie added 33 yards and a touchdown.
“It allows us to be a little more versatile with play calling,” Free said. “We have so many guys we can continue to run in there so as a play caller, that’s nice to have.”
Edgewood quarterback Alex Johnson came up big in the passing game when he was called upon. Johnson completed eight of his 12 passes, throwing for 118 yards and connecting with Varner for two touchdowns through the air.
“Going into the game, we knew we were going to take chances where we had them,” Free said. “When the game plan worked itself out, we didn’t have to get away from it too much. We were prepared to if we needed to but we didn’t have to.”
Varner caught just two passes but he led the Wildcats with 67 receiving yards. He finished with 87 yards of total offense to go along with his big night on defense.
“Kaleb is one of the leaders on the team,” Free said. “It was great to see him go out and have a good first game. He’s just a ball player so having him run out there for you is always a plus.”
Edgewood outgained Northside by just 23 yards and the Wildcats had two less first downs while Northside won the time of possession battle. However, Edgewood came out with the win, starting its season with a 1-0 record for the second consecutive year.
“We were really satisfied with tonight’s outcome,” Free said. “We did have a couple of first-game mental mistakes we want to fix but that’s like everyone else in Week 1. We’re happy with where we are but we have plenty of room to improve.”