There were a few miscues, but Act I of the Pete Wahlheim show at Gilbert Highland should get some rave reviews.
The former Chandler Seton Catholic coach got off on the right foot in 5A-I on Friday night with the Hawks’ 34-7 victory over visiting Phoenix Trevor Browne in a nonregion game.
“Well, we have a new coach and new system but our guys learned it pretty well,” Highland quarterback Jeremy Fuhst said. “So we just came out and tried to execute.”
That’s exactly what the Hawks did, scoring on all four of their first-half possessions to build a 24-7 halftime lead.
“We made a lot of mistakes but that is to be expected,” Wahlheim said. “They’ve done an awful good job of adapting to us and our systems. The mistakes are going to come but we are going to get better every week.”
Fuhst, who missed part of last year with a hand injury, was 11 of 17 passing for 196 yards, although 68 of those came on a late catch-and-run by Ty West. Brandon Shines was the other main component of the attack, running for 98 yards on 19 carries, losing two on his last rush.
He scored twice.
“It is very important,” Shines said of getting a seasonopening win.
“I loved it, it was amazing,”
Highland was 6-5 last year, losing in the first round of the state playoffs to Chandler Basha after earning a No. 14 seed.
Highland came out strong, with Shines capping a 65-yard drive that took just 90 seconds.
The Hawks then forced Trevor Browne to punt from its own 7. West returned the short punt from the 34 to the 14, then fumbled, but Mike DiGangi recovered at the 9. Shines scored from 1 yard out on third down.
The Bruins had another three-and-out and Highland got the ball at its 31 late in the first quarter.
Fuhst engineered a 10-play, 69-yard drive that appeared to end at the 20.
DiGangi lined up for a 37-yard field goal but West couldn’t handle the snap, scrambled, and found Kyson Lamb with a pass and Lamb found his way into the end zone.