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Wadsworth, defense lift Silverado to win

Last year, Michael Wadsworth’s excellence on special teams earned him first-team all-state honors as a kick returner.

In Friday night’s season opener, the senior showcased his talents in the other two phases of the game.

Wadsworth had two interceptions and a long touchdown run to help lead Silverado to a 28-0 home victory over Desert Pines.

“I like to help this team any way I can,” he said. “I am just grateful for any opportunity I get to do that.”

He also showed his value as a special-teamer by returning a punt 48 yards for a score, only to have it called back by a penalty.

“I’ve told people that Wads-worth is the best all-around football player we’ve got,” Skyhawks coach Andy Ostolaza said. “We locked him up on Desert Pines’ best receiver, and he gave us the spark we needed on offense. A guy like Wadsworth is worth his weight in gold.”

It was the defensive side of the ball where Silverado dominated the game. Desert Pines managed just 90 total yards. Because of their stifling defense, the Skyhawks were able to run 65 plays on offense to just 34 for the Jaguars.

“We’ve had good practices all week on defense, and we just really stepped up tonight,” Wadsworth said.

His two interceptions came on consecutive pass attempts in the fourth quarter, and both led to Skyhawks touchdowns. On the second interception, Wadsworth showcased even more of his return ability as he took it back 40 yards before being brought down 2 yards shy of the goal line.

In fact, Wadsworth had a hand in all of Silverado’s points.

Though the Skyhawks defense controlled the game in the first half, both teams were scoreless late in the second quarter, and Silverado had the ball deep in its own territory.

Wadsworth caught four Trenton Tipton passes for 64 yards on one drive to put the Skyhawks at the Desert Pines 2-yard line with seconds left.

With Silverado out of timeouts, Terran Madu-Jules tried to run the ball in on the right side but fumbled. The ball sat on the field momentarily before Keenan Graham picked it up for a touchdown with less than three seconds to play in the half.

“I was blocking the defensive end on the play, and I saw the ball pop out,” Graham said. “I just saw it and jumped on it, and I think that gave us momentum going into halftime”

The Skyhawks took advantage of the momentum. Their defensive domination continued, and late in the third quarter, Wadsworth broke through the line for a 53-yard touchdown run.

He finished with 68 yards rushing and 64 receiving. Madu-Jules led the offense with 88 yards and a score, but Ostolaza wasn’t pleased with the offensive effort in general.

“Defensively, we played really well,” he said. “Offensively, we made tons of mistakes. We have a lot to work on offensively. We’ve got to get these things fixed.”

Tipton was 5 of 9 for 71 yards in his debut as Silverado’s quarterback.

Derrick Shaw had a 29-yard run late in the game for the Jaguars but was held to 30 yards on six carries.

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