BEAVERCREEK — Willieon Yates hadn’t gained a yard all season long. He might not have played a down.
Yates had scored four touchdowns all last season for the Springboro Panthers.
On Friday night, Yates scored five in a 34-7 win over the host Beavercreek Beavers. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound junior had touchdown runs of 31, 23 and 10 yards, and he snared TD passes of 16 and 36 yards from Landon Palmer as well.
The only Panthers blemish was an extra point that sailed wide right in the first quarter.
“Springboro was off to a difficult start to their season, but they’ve gotten some players back from different issues and things and that’s really helped them to be more explosive,” Beavercreek Coach Nic Black said. He kept his team and staff on the Frank Zink Field sidelines to watch the Beavercreek Marching Band’s competition post-game performance before heading into the locker room.
“Springboro is very talented. I wouldn’t at all count them out as a playoff contender,” Black added.
While Yates was running crazy, Palmer got off to a solid start as well. The 6-5 junior QB completed 14 of his first 15 pass tries in the first half for a TD pass to Yates and 172 first-half yards. Palmer finished with 221 yards through the air on 16-for-21 passing and two scores. The yardage performance was his second best effort of the year, second only to a 266-yard game in a 35-0 win Sept. 21 over Centerville.
A true bright spot for the Beavers came in the form of senior back Christopher Lawrence who had a season-best 118 yards rushing on 16 carries. Lawrence scored Beavercreek’s lone touchdown of the evening on a 1-yard score with 4:49 left to play.
“Chris plays extremely hard every time he takes the field,” Black said. “In term of his play and effort, he really displays some positive leadership in that way.”
The Beavers’ TD was set up by a 22-yard interception return by senior safety Maurice Wilson. The pick was Beavercreek’s first of the season.
Beavercreek falls to 1-5 overall. They’re 0-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s National East division. The Beavers head over to Huber Heights for their next game, a 7 p.m. Oct. 5 contest against Wayne.
Springboro’s record now evens out at 3-3 overall and they’ve yet to play a GWOC National West opponent. That all begins Oct. 5, however, when the Panthers will host Miamisburg.