Wilson Rushes for 2 TDs as Orange Ends Hillside 48-Game Conference Winning Streak 31-20

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Updated: October 16, 2017

Friday the 13th was the fitting date for Orange to end Hillside’s 48-game conference winning streak, which stretched back to 2009.

And luck had nothing to do with it. Rather, it all comes back to false finishes.

A false finish. You’ve seen it in most horror films from the 80s and 90s. It’s where the indestructible villain gets shocked by a power line that falls into a puddle, or stabbed in the eye with a coat hanger. Each time, they’re seemingly left for dead, and each time they pop up 5 minutes later, nary a scratch with a machete in their hands with hell to pay.

That’s Orange football right now.

In its third game, they lost starting quaterback Rodney Brooks for the season against Riverside with a blown left knee. They’ve had five different centers, including Jake McBroom, a sophomore who was slated to start the season on the JV until an injury to right tackle Daylen Alston in the Eastern Alamance scrimmage.

Orange has yet to start to the same offensive line twice. Their best offensive lineman, Noah Rogers, was lost with a concussion for its opening conference games. They’ve played five of its seven games on the road.

Despite all that, two-thirds of the way into the regular season, Orange is 6-1, 3-0 in the Big 8 Conference with only Northwood standing in its way of a third consecutive league championship.

In Friday’s win, Orange never trailed against a Hillside team that has won seven consecutive PAC-6 championships.

Once again, Payton Wilson had to play the role of the ultimate utility man. After running back Marvante Beasley was stretchered off the field after suffering a stinger (finishing with 105, his 7th consecutive 100-yard game), Wilson played the entire game at quaterback. But he was essentially a running back in a single wing offense, carrying the ball 21 times for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

Wilson scored the opening touchdown after Hillside fumbled on an attempted punt with 10:22 remaining in the first quarter. After Beasley’s 12-yard carry put the ball in the Hornets red zone, Wilson scampered eight yards up the middle.

Wilson is now responsible for 12 touchdowns this season (2 throwing, seven rushing, two receiving and an interception return).

Beasley scored his only touchdown on a 20-yard scamper with 8:14 remaining in the second quarter to complete a six-play, 46-yard drive. Prior to Beasley’s run, Wilson converted a 3rd-and-5 with an eight-yard run around left end.

Hillside starting quarterback Randy Trice was momentarily knocked out of the game after a hard hit by Beasley. Backup Damian Harris, usually a wide receiver, stepped in to throw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Deshaun Mitchell to knife the Orange lead in half to 14-7 with 5:31 remaining in the second quarter.

The Panthers responded with a six-play, 63-yard Drive where Beasley went over 100 yards on the night with a 26-yard run. Wilson scored on an eight-yard dash up the middle to extend Orange’s lead to 21-7.

Trice returned on th next drive for a gorgeous 51-yard touchdown pass to Harris with 2:31 remaining in the first half. Orange went into the locker room with a 21-14 lead, and that was as close as the Hornets would get.

Orange’s defense held Hillside to 192 yards, a season-low. Wilson led the Panthers with 11 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks. Senior defensive end Ryan Sellers registered three sacks. Sophomore Khaleb Smith added another sack.

Hillside has struggled to put together a solid running game since the loss of Jamal Elliott, who has committed to Oregon. Elliott hasn’t played since the Pinecrest game because of a sports hernia.

Senior linebacker Milton Purcell finished putting the hey in the barn after he picked off a pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.

 

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