MASON, W.Va. — Making things work in their favor.
The Wahama football team forced turnovers on four of Tolsia’s first five possessions after halftime, and those takeaways resulted in 22 points as the hosts rolled to a 37-20 victory in a Week 5 non-conference matchup at Bachtel Stadium.
The White Falcons (1-3) committed three first half turnovers and were minus-2 in turnover differential at the break, but the Red and White still led wire-to-wire after building leads of 7-0 after one quarter and 15-6 headed into halftime.
The Red and White played turnover-free football in the second half, and a pair of key third quarter takeaways ultimately allowed WHS to increase its cushion out to a somewhat comfortable level.
The Rebels (0-3) opened the second half by moving the ball down to the Wahama 16, but Trey Ohlinger picked off a pass at the 8-yard line. Four plays later, Sawyer VanMatre added his third touchdown run of the night on a 92-yard jaunt to the end zone for a 22-6 contest with 5:51 left.
Tolsia answered with a quick 7-play, 56-yard answer as Cameron Ratcliff scored on a 2-yard run at the 2:42 mark, cutting the deficit down to 22-12.
The White Falcons followed with a quick 3-and-out, but Austin Nicholson recovered a fumble on Tolsia’s ensuing snap — giving the hosts possession at the THS six with 46.9 seconds left in the third.
Kase Stewart added a 4-yard touchdown run two plays later, and a VanMatre 2-point conversion run gave Wahama a 30-12 cushion entering the fourth.
Stewart had an interception on the ensuing Rebel drive, but the hosts ultimately stalled before punting the ball back. Ryker Humphries recovered a fumble two plays later, giving Wahama the ball back at the Tolsia 32.
Connor Lambert hauled in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Roush on a 4th-and-7 call, and Wyatt Harris converted his third consecutive PAT boot for a 37-12 advantage with 2:03 left in regulation.
Julian Vance hauled in a 32-yard scoring pass from Ratcliff with 44.9 seconds remaining to wrap up the 17-point outcome.
VanMatre gave WHS a 7-0 edge with a 3-yard run at the 4:30 mark of the first, but Ratcliff added a 3-yard run of his own at the 7:12 mark of the second. Tolsia went for two and the pass failed, making it a 7-6 contest that was ultimately never closer.
VanMatre tacked on a 5-yard run with 3:59 left in the half, and Roush added a successful 2-point run for a 15-6 halftime advantage. Lambert also picked off a pass in the second quarter to account for Wahama’s lone takeaway before the break.
The Rebels claimed a 19-14 advantage in first downs, but were also minus-2 in turnover differential by night’s end. Wahama outgained the guests by a 339-311 overall margin in total yards of offense, including a 278-145 edge on the ground.
VanMatre led the hosts with 185 rushing yards on 19 carries and also completed 2-of-9 passes for 32 yards, including a pair of picks. Stewart added 34 rushing yards on eight carries and also had 31 yards on a single catch.
Ratcliff paced THS with 75 rushing yards on 24 carries and also completed 8-of-17 passes for 110 yards, including one interception. Eli Blackburn led the Rebel wideouts with five catches for 68 yards.
Zack Ramey and Westley Sloan recorded interceptions in the first half for Tolsia, while Ratcliff recovered a fumble that led to their lone first half scoring drive.
Wahama returns to action Friday when it hosts Hundred in a non-conference matchup at 7:30 p.m.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.