Kendrick Williba had a hand in all five of the Granite City Warriors’ first-half touchdowns to help lead them build a 35-21 halftime lead over the Belleville East Lancers on Saturday night.
But the Warriors (2-1) had to find a way to finish off their 63-49 victory without their senior quarterback.
Williba was injured while running a quarterback keeper early in the second half and was taken from the field in an ambulance with what appeared to be a serious injury to his right leg.
Before the injury, Williba had put on quite a show in helping the Warriors build a 14-point halftime lead in a game that had been pushed back because of Friday night’s thunderstorms.
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The senior had scored on touchdown runs of 12, 6 and 39 yards and completed TD passes of 22 and 46 yards to freshman Freddie Edwards. His two touchdown runs came in the final 4:11 of the first half, helping the Warriors regain some distance between itself and East (0-3), after the Lancers had tied the game at 21.
Williba was responsible for 236 yards of total offense — 103 rushing and 133 passing — at the time of his injury.
After the injury, Edwards stepped in at quarterback for the Warriors who actually didn’t seem to miss a beat.
Granite City found the end zone on its first three possessions with Edwards calling signals, which never allowed East to pull closer than 14 points after the break.
Richard Graham did the honors on the first two scores, with runs of 6 and 8 yards. Edwards tallied the third one himself, with a 22-yard run to put the Warriors up 56-35 with under 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
Edwards later added a second touchdown run, this time an 88-yard sprint with 4:22 left as the speedy freshman left the East defenders in the dust.
Edwards finished the game with 160 rushing yards on 12 carries with the two touchdowns. He did not attempt a pass.
Down 14-0, the Lancers rallied to tie the game at 21-21 on a 29-yard touchdown run by Roderick Morgan with 5:29 left in the half.
But East just could not put the clamps on Williba, who immediately led the Warriors on a four-play scoring drive that he capped with a 3-yard scoring run.
After forcing East into a three-and-out, Williba had the Warriors in the end zone again just 1:21 before the end of the half scoring on a 39-yard run to cap a 10-play drive.
East quarterback Kienen Waller completed 9 of 22 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown.