Flintridge Prep Wolves running back Noah Willingham couldn’t be stopped on Saturday night.
Willingham ran wild for 220 yards and a trio of touchdowns in the Wolves’ 46-0 non-league win over the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals at College of the Canyons.
Flintridge’s line dominated on both offense and defense, clearing the way for Willingham and breaking into the Cardinals’ backfield throughout the night. The back also flashed his speed on a 63-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second half.
The Wolves (5-0) exploded from the get-go and scored 32 points to open up the first half. Flintridge Prep quarterback Alex Chorba lived and thrived off the big plays. Chorba finished the game 7-for-9 with 100 yards passing and four TDs. The quarterback connected with receivers Owen Willingham and Noah Grable for two scores apiece.
“With a good team like Flintridge, if you make one mistake, then all of a sudden the dominoes are gonna fall and it’s gonna turn into something explosive,” said SCCS coach Austin Fry. “I think today, in terms of when they scored, it was all explosive plays.”
SCCS (4-2) has been hammered with injuries this season and didn’t catch any more breaks on Saturday. The Cardinals’ top receiver and cornerback Eli Duhm was set to play but was a late scratch. Duhm has been nursing an ankle injury and has been limited in the last few weeks.
Flintridge’s defense earned its first shutout of the season, behind a monster front that held the Cards in negative rushing yardage. SCCS quarterback Cayden Rappleye was able to make a few plays but just couldn’t push his team into the end zone. The Cardinals’ highlight was a 27-yard pass from Rappleye to Wyatt Waldron down the sideline.
Later in the game, Fry elected to swap his Rappleyes, as Mason Rappleye, a freshman natural quarterback, swapped roles with his older brother. The move didn’t result in any points but gave Mason invaluable minutes against a strong opponent.
For Fry, there’s only room to grow on his team that is rostered by mostly underclassmen.
“You can’t just assume that your talent is going to be good enough,” Fry said. “You gotta apply it in the right ways. That’s a lot of growing for us to do. These games stink but there’s a lot to learn from and there’s a lot to grow from. If there weren’t, this would be a tougher loss.”
Fry is hoping to see his team bounce back after a tough go-around with MaxPreps’ top-ranked 8-man team in California.
Flintridge will remain on the road as they enter Prep League play on Friday at Windward High School.
SCCS re-enters Heritage League play in its final home game on Saturday as the Cardinals host Fry’s alma mater, Faith Baptist. This will be Fry’s second matchup as a coach against the Contenders. The coach will hope to see his team take another step in their physical and mental game.
“I just want to focus on how we play the game,” Fry said. “I’ll never say results don’t matter but I want to focus more on how we play the game. I want to see a lot more quality of practice, execution and mentally, I think we just got to lock in. That’s something for the guys that they’ve got to figure out.”