WAXAHACHIE — If you ask Aaron Woods about his quarterback’s performance during Friday night’s 42-28 victory over Ennis High School at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium, he’ll probably chuckle and utter a single name.
“Sometimes,” Waxahachie offensive coordinator Woods said, “he’s Houdini. Most of the time, he’s a magician, but sometimes he can get you into trouble.”
Waxahachie High School (2-1) saw more magic — like on his 19-yard sleight-of-hand escape and bullet pass to Jeff Alexander — than mistake or tomfoolery — like his two interceptions to KD Davis — during a win that secured No. 600 for the program.
No magician, though, operates without his or her bag of magical tricks. For Salik, those spectacles came in the form of Alexander, highly touted two-way athletes Jarreth Sterns and Demani Richardson, speedy Kevin Green, lengthy 6-foot-5 receiver Tevin Wofford, and hulking tight end Will Morgan.
Salik finished 21-for-31 with 358 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. He also tossed passes to six different receivers.
One of those receivers was Sterns, who accumulated more than 150 all-purpose yards despite playing sparingly in the final quarter.
The quarterback made magic in 93 seconds with Alexander’s catch and run into the end zone, one when he escaped three defenders, rolled to his right and hit his wideout in stride. Richardson’s back shoulder jump ball with 12 seconds left in the first quarter was part acrobatic adjustment and part pinpoint accuracy.
Richardson’s second score of the game — a 15-yard curl turned spinning, shifting evolution of juke after juke en route to a 47-yard reception— was Waxahachie’s finale.
To the Waxahachie master of misdirection, fans in both stands got to see only a glimpse of Woods’ toolbox.
“As a quarterback, you’re only thinking about rolling around the pocket and creating enough time for your receivers to get open. I was just lucky I have people around me that make me look like I know what I’m doing,” Salik said. “There’s a lot more we can do but we’re going to run the ball, control the game and do what we need to do to put ourselves in position to win a game.”
Forty-two points were almost not enough against Ennis and during a matchup the two teams combined for 49 points in two quarters. Especially after James Harris battered his way through the Indian defense for 110 yards and a touchdown by halftime.
Or when Kyrie Holloway tore through the heart of the defensive line for a 10-yard touchdown.
Or after senior Kademon Graff hooked up with Holloway for 30 yards and Harris capped a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 late in the second quarter.
“It’s hard to prepare for them because you can’t practice for that offense,” Indian Head Coach Jon Kitna said. “You can’t practice their speed on defense. They kept pounding the rock in the first half. A lot of what they got was from us being out of line or missing a gap and our kids owned it and took personal responsibility for it. They knew it was on them from the jump. It really came down to consistency and lining up and playing the next snap [in the second half].”
Ennis, which had 182 yards and scored three touchdowns in the first half, gained only 87 and scored only one in the second. After going 5-for-5 for 51 yards in the first two quarters, Graff went 3-for-10 with 48 yards after halftime.
The defense also forced two turnovers, one courtesy of a Peyton Pennington fumble recovery.
Kitna added Morgan, who found his stride late in the game and caught three of his four receptions after halftime for 21 yards, may have been one of the unsung heroes that stepped forward when his tribe needed them most.
“I’ve been preaching about the tight end [position] for a long time,” he continued. “It calms the defense down and is a security blanket for your quarterback. The fact Will is doing what he’s doing is no surprise to anybody”‘
UP NEXT: Ennis (0-3) started it’s season winless for the first time since 1995 during the second year of legendary coach Sam Harrell’s Lions’ career. They will face Dallas Kimball and Del Valle High Schools on Sept. 22 and Sept. 29 before beginning District 17-5A play against Whitehouse High School at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at Wildcat Stadium.
Waxahachie’s District 10-5A schedule will begin a week earlier against county rival Mansfield Summit High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Billy Goodloe Stadium.