ZEPHYRHILLS — Willie Williams ran for a career-high 214 yards and two touchdowns and the Zephyrhills defense forced six turnovers Friday to defeat Wesley Chapel 42-19 in the Class 5A, District 6 opener for both teams.
The Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0) dominated the line of scrimmage, racking up all but 100 of their 483 yards on the ground. But the Wildcats (1-2, 0-1) stayed close, in part because of Zephyrhills' 110 yards in penalties and two lost fumbles.
"This is big," Zephyrhills coach Reggie Roberts said of the district win. "If you're going to get to the playoffs, you've got to win them all (in 5A-6) from here on out."
The Bulldogs raced out to a 29-7 lead by scoring on four of their first six possessions. Williams had two of those touchdowns on runs of 36 and 68 yards.
"He ran the ball hard," Roberts said. "He did what we asked him to do. He's an athlete."
Zephyrhills quarterback Mike Smith passed for 100 yards, including a 21-yard scoring strike to Jarret Kelly in the first quarter.
The Wildcats fought back with two touchdowns before halftime. Starting quarterback Ty Tanner scrambled 40 yards for one score and connected with Kudiel Gomez on a 26-yard pass for another.
Zephyrhills spread the carries in the backfield with Malik Mutcherson running for two touchdowns and Art Lee scoring another. Plus, Devin Brockington came within 4 rushing yards of cracking the 100 mark.
Backup quarterback Troy Cothran, who was intercepted three times, closed out Wesley Chapel's scoring with a 9-yard pass to Chris Ayers in the waning minutes.