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Wilmer mashes Applemen defense

August 25, 2007|By JOHN O'BRIEN

BUNKER HILL, W.Va. - For one night, Keyser running back Matt Wilmer wished the football field was a little longer, because the end zone kept getting in his way Friday against Musselman.

In both teams' opener, Wilmer established a school record with seven touchdowns, leading the Golden Tornado to a 49-10 win at Waldeck Field.

His one regret on a career night? The 334 rushing yards he amassed fell about 30 yards short of breaking that record.

"Man," the junior said, "I wanted to get those yards."

Wilmer, who carried it only 13 times, could have ran all night, as the Applemen defense had trouble corralling the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder. He repeatedly burst through big holes then slipped through tackles in the secondary on his way to scoring on runs of 19, 41, 74, 67, 87 and 25 yards. He even added a 35-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Preston Hartman.

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In scoring seven times, he broke the record set two years ago by fullback M.J. Twyman, now playing collegiately at Fairmont State University.

"I thought he did a tremendous job," coach Sean Biser said. "He's a talented kid. We've always known he's talented. It's a testament to our strength and conditioning program. He worked hard all season.

"We knew he had that kind of power. The confidence he ran with, we knew he could do it. We just needed to get him to know he could do it."

And everyone knows it now, as his performance is sure to open some eyes around the state.

It came as somewhat of a surprise for the Golden Tornado, which was playing without starting running back Jeremy Green, out with an injury. In fact, the team did not even score a point in its two scrimmages against Hedgesville and Elkins before erupting Friday.

"To start out the season like this, I'm speechless actually," Wilmer said. "We were just ready to play. We didn't think it would be that easy. We were going to play hard and do our best, and that's what we did."

On the other side, Musselman coach Denny Price was not happy with any part of his team's performance. The Applemen did not put a point on the scoreboard until Corey Smith's 40-yard field goal with 4:16 remaining that made it 49-3. Vincente Hernandez added an acrobatic touchdown catch on a 19-yard pass from backup quarterback Brandon Michael.

Starting quarterback Ethan French completed 13 of 31 passes for 104 yards, and the running game produced only 41 yards on 24 carries.

"I don't know what happened out there tonight," Price said. "The coaches will go back to work tomorrow, and the players will go back to work on Monday.

"(Wilmer) is good. I don't think he was touched until he was 10 yards downfield, so that helps. He did a great job breaking our tackles and had enough speed to pull away from us."

Wilmer's first touchdown was a 19-yarder on Keyser's first possession. Next, he ran through a big hole on the right side of his line for a 41-yard score eight minutes into the game.

In the second quarter, he took a handoff, went left through the line then cut back to the right sideline, juking Casey Cochran along the way, for a 74-yard touchdown. Next, he lined up in the left slot and was uncovered on a deep slant to score on a third-and-17 play.

He followed it up with a 67-yard run just 27 seconds before halftime, then scored in the third on an 87-yard run. On his last possession before being pulled, Wilmer scored from 25 yards out with 11:15 remaining. Biser elected to pull his starters, and said Wilmer did not lobby to get back on the field.

"He's not that type of kid," he said. "He's a very quiet kid, a good kid of the utmost character. That makes this all the more special."

Wilmer, though, was not satisfied, promising to keep it up the rest of the year. When asked if that meant he would keep up the pace established Friday and rush for 3,340 yards this year, he smiled.

"More," he said.

He better find a bigger field.

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