Elijah Jones had two touchdown receptions called back in the first half, and the Wilson High senior never did find the end zone.
But a 48-yard kickoff return by Jones set up a short drive for one Rams score, and his 94-yard run from scrimmage late in the first half set up another touchdown that gave Wilson a lead it never relinquished in a 17-16 Class 3A Narrows League victory over Capital on Friday night at Ingersoll Stadium.
Jones, a 5-foot-10 junior, said he and his teammates “have a short-term memory” when big plays are called back. His stat line, even with the nullifications, still looks good: 15 carries for 135 yards and a catch for 44 yards.
Capital’s Bijan Washington intercepted an ill-advised screen pass from Wilson quarterback Alex Motonaga, opening a Cougars opportunity inside the Rams 35, but the Cougs settled for a field goal by Van Soderberg to get within a point at 17-16.
Capital’s last scoring threat was derailed by Motonaga, playing defensive back, who made a leaping interception of a deep throw by Capital freshman quarterback Grant Erickson.
With the victory, Wilson evened its record at 3-3, 2-2 in Narrows play.
“We’ve grown so much from Week 1,” Jones said of his Rams team. “Those three losses do not define our team.”
Capital, competitive for 48 minutes, fell to 1-5 and 1-3.
“I’m not saying they didn’t battle — they battled,” Capital coach J.D. Johnson said of his team, noting that a blocked extra point on the Cougars’ first touchdown — when not enough players were in the game to block the edges — was symptomatic of the mistakes his team made.
“We couldn’t get out of our own way tonight,” Johnson said.
Jones’ 94-yard sprint up the middle set up a 1-yard run by Motonaga with 22 seconds on the clock, closing the scorebook on a wild first half.
Earlier, a first-quarter interception of a tipped pass by Capital senior linebacker Jared Gearhart set the Cougars up at the Wilson 34-yard line. It took one play to cover the distance home, with Erickson hitting streaking senior Zach Smith in stride in the end zone.
At the end of the first quarter, Capital thwarted a Rams drive that, in fits and starts that included nullification of an apparent 79-yard TD pass from Motonaga to Jones, eventually reached the Cougars 7-yard line. The Cougars sniffed out an inside pitch from field goal formation, stopping Devon McCabe short of the first down inside their own 10.
The Rams responded with an interception of Erickson by senior linebacker Tanner Colburn, which led to a 34-yard field goal by Alek Greenleaf to get the Rams to 6-3.
Capital’s hard-running 5-foot-7 senior Willie Broxton Jr., who picked up 104 first-half yards, carried six times for 48 yards on a nine-play, 69-yard drive that netted the Cougars a 13-3 lead on Broxton’s 2-yard run with 3:28 left in the first half.
Broxton finished with 27 carries for 144 yards.
Jones’s 48-yard return of the subsequent kickoff and a 41-yard pass from Motonaga to Montre Brown had the Rams knocking. A 10-yard pass to Jones in the end zone was wiped out by penalty but Motonaga persevered, two plays later finding Xavier Martin-Jones for a 12-yard TD.
Next week, Capital visits Mount Tahoma and Wilson hosts Foss.