Fulmore, Wheeler pave way for Big Nine victory as West Mifflin stays undefeated
October 6, 2012 12:15 PM
West Mifflin quarterback Derrick Fulmore runs against Elizabeth Forward's Anthony Hill Friday at West Mifflin High School
By Brad Everett Tri-State Sports & News Service
Kennywood Park held another of its popular Phantom Fright Nights Friday.
Just up the hill, the West Mifflin Titans were staging their own version.
Only this one might have been scarier.
Derrick Fulmore and Jimmy Wheeler used their speed and athletic ability to produce big plays and the West Mifflin defense was as mean as it has been all season in helping the host Titans run to a 27-0 win against visiting Elizabeth Forward in a WPIAL Class AAA Big Nine Conference game.
West Mifflin (6-0, 6-0) continued its domination against its Mon Valley rivals and has beaten Elizabeth Forward (3-3, 3-3) in eight of the past nine games and 12 of the past 14. The Warriors have scored a total of three points against the Titans the past three times the teams have met.
The running back/quarterback duo of Wheeler and Fulmore was excellent for the Titans, who average more than 43 points per game.
Wheeler came into the game as the WPIAL's leading rusher, but he didn't have a monster outing. He has rushed for more than 200 yards three times this season, but not this time. Still, he finished with 139 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.
For one night at least, Fulmore made a bigger splash. Fulmore rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and used his only completion -- his other attempt was intercepted -- to connect with Marcus Martin for an 88-yard touchdown.
"I felt I had to step up," said Fulmore. "I knew they were going to key on Jimmy and put extra guys in the box. I knew when I got my chance I would have to take full advantage of it."
Defensively, the Titans limited the Warriors to 106 yards and pitched their first shutout.
"They just beat our butts up front," said Elizabeth Forward coach Mike LeDonne.
"It came down to the line play, and they won that battle."
Elizabeth Forward junior quarterback JaQuan Davidson -- who attended West Mifflin as a freshman -- had rushed for more than 500 yards and 10 touchdown, but he found little running room against the Titans, gaining 46 yards on 12 carries, 30 on a first-quarter play. Davidson completed 4 of 13 passes for 52 yards.
To make matters worse for the Warriors, second-leading rusher and defensive standout Rex Pearse left the game with an ankle injury late in the second quarter and did not return.
After having little trouble in beating its first five opponents, West Mifflin had to work hard for its sixth win.
The Titans led, 7-0, at halftime, despite outgaining Elizabeth Froward, 153-42.
"This was the first time we've had to sort of bear down and be in a football game that could go either way," coach Ray Braszo said. "They did respond. That's the first game we've had to play the whole game."
Wheeler provided the only points of the first half with a nine-yard run in which he dove into the end zone just inside the left pylon with 1:58 left in the second quarter.
Fulmore made the biggest play early in the third quarter. After Elizabeth Forward downed a punt at the West Mifflin 10, Fulmore lobbed a pass deep to the center of the field to his tight end, Martin, who made the catch over a defender. When another defender fell, Martin sprinted to the end zone for the 88-yard score that put the Titans in front, 14-0.
"It was a play-action," Fulmore said. "Marcus Martin is a mismatch on anybody."
West Mifflin's Jeff Foreman intercepted Davidson on the ensuing possession, and the Titans scored again on Fulmore's 10-yard touchdown run.
After another Elizabeth Forward punt, Fulmore's 34-yard touchdown run gave the Titans a 27-0 advantage with 11:06 left.