DANVILLE — DreSean Kendrick has gotten used to running wild this season, and Friday against George Washington was no exception.
Kendrick, the senior quarterback for E.C. Glass, came in averaging well over 100 rushing yards per game, and he eclipsed the century mark easily in the first quarter to spark the Hilltoppers to a 49-15 victory over the Eagles in Danville.
“Any time he has the ball in his hands, he can make it happen,” Hilltoppers coach Jeff Woody said of Kendrick. “A lot of times you’d see GW right in his face today trying to make the tackle and he’s slipping it. Sometimes I’ll watch him and not know where he’s going. It’s magical.”
Acting as the proverbial queen of the 100-yard chessboard before him, no move was out of the question for Kendrick as he danced, spun and sprinted his way to three rushing touchdowns in the lopsided victory.
“I know that my offensive line is good enough to keep me protected long enough, and if it doesn’t look right, my instincts take over, and it’s just backyard football again,” Kendrick said.
Friday marked the fifth consecutive game Kendrick has tallied at least three touchdowns on the ground.
“The challenges we thought going in were the same ones we had to face during the game,” Eagles head coach Nick Anderson said. “He’s a special player, very fast and a great athlete.”
E.C. Glass (5-0) senior running back Quoterrus Craighead matched Kendrick with three rushing scores, and classmate Ty Foster added a touchdown of his own, showing off the versatility of the Hilltoppers’ offense.
“You can’t focus on [Kendrick] because you have to watch for 20 and 2,” Woody said, referring to Craighead and Foster by their jersey numbers. “Can’t focus on 20 and 2 because you have to watch for [Kendrick], and plus you’ve got four solid wide receivers out there that can make a catch any time.
“If [Kendrick] can distribute the football and we can get more players involved in the offense, it makes us better, it makes him better.”
Both teams came in with high-scoring offenses, but the Eagles (3-2) were limited for much of the game to just one score — a 66-yard rushing touchdown from junior Willie Edmunds in the second quarter. Shyheim Watlington caught a 50-yard touchdown from Sha’kobe Hairston with 4:55 to play, but the game already out of reach.
George Washington entered averaging 52 points per game.
“We were concerned about their athleticism, their speed,” Woody said. “We didn’t want them to take the top off the defense and go deep on us.”
The Hilltoppers quickly erased all concerns and raced to a 15-0 lead in the opening quarter behind Kendrick’s first two scores — a 33-yard rush and a 65-yard rush.
The lead swelled to 21-0 in the second quarter following Craighead’s 16-yard touchdown run with 8:07 to play before halftime.
Edmunds’ score came on the ensuing drive to briefly inject life into GW’s sideline, but that momentum couldn’t be sustained through the rest of the game.
“We’ve got to get back to the drawing board,” Anderson said. “It’s not like we have to make a lot of corrections. We’ve just got to get better at what we do. Personnel, we’re fine. We just gotta execute a little better.”
E.C. Glass settled for a 21-7 halftime lead, but it was nearly more than that if not for Kendrick’s fumble at the goal line with 36 seconds to go before the break.
In the second half, the Hilltoppers added touchdowns from Kendrick, Foster and Craighead to open a 42-7 cushion.
Watlington did break through after catching a ball in traffic late in the fourth quarter, but the score came much too late.
Craighead scored his last touchdown with 3:11 left to provide the final margin.
Anderson told his team following the loss that there’s still a chance it could face the Hilltoppers later in the season. He wants them to be ready for that possibility.
“I hope that it makes us a little more hungry,” Anderson said. “We’re a good football team, but we’ve got to put in some more work so we can compete with Glass and the other top teams in the state.”