WELLINGTON — The Black River football team’s annual rivalry game against Wellington turned into just another tune-up for the Division V playoffs.
The Pirates rushed for 438 first-half yards against a depleted Dukes team en route to a 53-0 Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division win.
After fumbling away the ball on its first series, Black River (9-1, 4-1) scored touchdowns on its next eight possessions while amassing 25 first downs in the first half.
Senior Riley Gibbs scored on a pair of untouched 9-yard touchdowns runs in the first quarter as the Pirates built a 19-0 lead. Gibbs finished the game with 192 yards on 10 carries.
“It was a great team effort in the first half,” Gibbs said. “The line was doing its job and everything was hitting right. This win is going to give us good momentum for next week.”
The Pirates are all but assured of hosting a Region 17 playoff game. The official playoff pairings will be announced Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve never been in that position before, but I think it’s pretty awesome,” Gibbs said. “It’ll be great for the school to get a chance to get the kids out there and fill the stands.”
Senior fullback Jacob Campbell and junior quarterback Riley Bartolic each had a pair of first-half rushing touchdowns against the Dukes, who ended the season with just 20 healthy players.
Travis Sexton only found the end zone once but rushed for 136 yards on just nine carries and also had a two-point conversion.
The Pirates stuck to the ground game against the 0-10 Dukes. Bartolic only threw one pass, a first-quarter incompletion.
“It’s just one of those (games) you have to get through,” Black River coach Al Young said. “We played sloppy to start the game, but we scored a lot and we got a shutout. Those are two things you’re always coming into the game trying to do.”
It was the third shutout of the season for the Pirates but first since Week 4.
Wellington’s best scoring chance came in the fourth quarter against Black River’s second- and third-stringers, but the Dukes came up short after moving the ball to the 12-yard line.
As impressive as the final numbers were, the Pirates fumbled six times, committed seven penalties, allowed 174 passing yards and missed three extra points.
“We didn’t have a great week of practice. Things are going to have to get better next week,” Young said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do before we’re ready to play a playoff game.”
Contact Todd Shapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Black River 53, Wellington 0
BLACK RIVER 19 34 0 0 — 53
WELLINGTON 0 0 0 0 — 0
B — Travis Sexton 6 run (Spencer Constable kick), 6:42.
B — Riley Gibbs 9 run (kick failed), 4:08.
B — Gibbs 9 run (kick failed), 2:15.
B — Jacob Campbell 6 run (Sexton run), 11:12.
B — Riley Bartolic 3 run (run failed), 7:59.
B — Bartolic 2 run (kick failed), 5:55.
B — Campbell 5 run (Gibbs run), 2:27.
B — Caleb Simonson 8 run (pass failed), 1:15.