WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WakeForestSports.com) – Quarterback John Wolford showed his competence on the field and in the front office in leading Team Black to a 21-3 win over Team Gold on Saturday at Wake Forest’s annual Spring Game at BB&T Field.
Wolford completed 11 of 14 passes and tossed a 17-yard scoring pass to Jalen Latter in the first half. Earlier in the week, during the club’s draft of players, Wolford and fellow quarterback Kendall Hinton were the two managing the player selection for their respective teams.
“John probably played about as close to a perfect first half as you can, except for one play,” said head coach Dave Clawson. “I thought he played really well. He was smart. He picked Brad Watson early (in the draft) then got Scotty Washington on his team. John’s a smart player.”
Wolford finished the scrimmage with 12 completions in 15 attempts for 148 yards. His lone error was an interception by Kalin McNeil in the closing seconds of the first half.
Team Black started the scoring with Wolford’s scoring pass to Latter. Team Gold countered when Mike Weaver, kicking with a strong wind at his back, nailed a 54-yard field goal with plenty of room to spare.
Team Black went up 14-3 on a Chuck Wade 73-yard TD pass from Kyle Kearns early in the second quarter. Wade caught the pass four yards downfield then cut to the sideline and outraced the Gold secondary to the end zone.
Team Black added its final score when Tyler Bell bulled his way on a 5-yard run. Stood up at the line of scrimmage, Bell kept churning behind his offensive line until he hit paydirt.
The second half was played with a running clock save for changes in possession. Neither team was able to score after halftime.
The area’s strong winds played a key role in both team’s execution on Saturday.
“Going one way, it was severe,” said Clawson. “If you were going towards the scoreboard, you had it at your back. The one pass Kendall had to Tabari (Hines) literally got blown backward. But you’re going to play in this weather. We’ve been indoors all spring and being in the elements and being exposed to this is not necessarily a bad thing.”
Kearns engineered Team Black for most of the second half and completed 6 of 10 passes for 173 yards and the long touchdown to Wade.
Hinton finished with 16 completions in 31 attempts for 182 yards.
Rocky Reid of Team Gold led all rushers with 41 yards on 16 carries. Cade Carney was Team Black’s top rusher with 26 yards on five carries. Bell had 11 carries for 19 yards for Team Black.
Latter was Team Black’s top receiver with seven receptions for 55 yards and the touchdown pass from Wolford. Washington, playing for Team Black, led all receivers with 86 yards on six catches including a remarkable sideline grab for 38 yards on a pass from Wolford. Hines had seven grabs for 59 yards to lead Team Gold.
Safety Cameron Glenn, playing for Team Black, led all players with 11 tackles while linebacker Grant Dawson had nine stops to lead Team Gold.
“I think the bright spot on offense was we made some explosive plays,” said Clawson. “Whether it was the big sideline catch Scotty Washington had, the long play Chucky Wade had. I think at times Kendall got in space and if it was live, it might have been a big play. We didn’t lose yards in the running game but there were a lot of those three, four yard plays. Other than Cade Carney, we didn’t have a back that hit the crease and made a long running play. I thought the defense bottled that up pretty good. Defensively in the second half I thought we buckled down. We played it pretty tight to the vest. This game was on ESPN and we weren’t going to show a lot of what we’re doing so we kept it very vanilla on both sides of the ball.”
Wake Forest Hall of Famer Ed Bradley was the honorary coach for the winning Team Black. He was appreciative of the opportunity Coach Clawson gave to him to participate.
“It was really an honor to be part of this new tradition that Dave has initiated,” said Bradley. “He’s done so much to try and integrate the alums with new players and make us feel a part of the program. A lot of the younger players can learn what it was like here at Wake Forest during our playing days.”
An estimated crowd of 2,100 watched the scrimmage and over 100 former Demon Deacon players were recognized at halftime. Included among the alums at BB&T Field on Saturday were Wake Forest’s two starting quarterbacks for its ACC Championship teams, Larry Russell in 1970 and Riley Skinner in 2006.
Clawson was generally pleased with everything surrounding Saturday’s scrimmage.
“With the spring game, you can just make it another scrimmage and you get the good work,” said Clawson. “To me, this is the player’s reward for the spring, they look forward to this, the draft is fun, the winning team gets steaks, the losing team gets hot dogs. We want them to enjoy this. I think our kids had fun, the Black team was happy and they’re starting to decide if they want their steaks medium rare or medium or well done. The other guys know the hot dogs will have to do.”