WELCH - There's a method to Ryan Gleaves' madness.
Welch rolled to another lopsided victory, this time upending Oaks 45-0 - but the game was prolonged until late in the fourth quarter to give younger players some quality time on the field.
"With eight seniors pretty much starting on offense, a lot of those kids will be starting next year," Gleaves said. "They need to get as much experience as they can. If you are winning every game close, it's hard to get them in."
Despite breaking out to a 39-0 halftime lead, the Wildcats' No. 1 defense played virtually the entire game.
"We left our starters in on defense all game long for conditioning, plus the Shell kid (District B-4 offensive player of the year Jeremiah Snell) was back there," Gleaves said. "It was a great game for us because we got to work on responsibilities and not overrunning things."
Reserve running back Casey Pendergraft got the deciding touchdown for the Wildcats, a 1-yard run with about 3 minutes remaining.
The Cats' first two touchdowns came on big plays and the first four came on passes.
After going 0-for-7 in last week's 59-14 win over Bluejacket last week, Welch was 7-of-8 passing against Oaks with 175 yards and three touchdowns.
"I wanted to open it early to show our other dimensions," Gleaves said."Both of our quarterbacks (Chance Harris and Tra Dodson) threw well and we had a couple of really good catches. They looked pretty sharp."
Dodson was 4-for-4 for 115 yards and two TDs while Harris was 3-of-3 with 60 yards and one scores.
Alex Smith erupted on a 41-yard run for the Cats' first touchdown, then Asa Chenoweth had a 55-yard catch-and-run from Dodson. Both times, the conversion failed.
Harris teamed with Chenoweth on a 28-yard TD pass. Austin Buchanan had the Cats' fourth touchdown, an 11-yard catch from Dodson.
"We came out striking on all cylinders ... we looked pretty sharp," Gleaves said.
Welch kept the ball on the ground to get its next two scores, a 28-yarder from Smith and a 9-yard scamper by Dodson. That ballooned the score to 39-0.
Neither team scored again until the fourth quarter, when Pendergraft ended the game with his 1-yard burst.
Smith finished with 138 yards on 11 carries and two scores. Seven other players had at least one touch in the game.
Buchanan caught five passes for 92 yards and Chenoweth had two receptions for 83 yards.
"We can hand the ball off to Smith all day long, but we have so many weapons," Gleaves said.
Logan Bruce headed up the defensive efforts for the Wildcats, logging 12 tackles and two assists. Jacob Mount had nine tackles and three assists while Smith added nine tackles and an assist.
"They were physical," Gleaves said. "We were stroking each other pretty hard. We kept him (Snell) bottled up for the most past. I am sure he had 100 yards, but they were tough yards, too. There was only one good run where he broke loose."