MARIETTA – Khalid Cramer rushed for 97 yards and a score, and quarterback Arendez Fedd added two more touchdowns as Dutchtown defeated Wheeler 21-7 in a non-region game Friday night at Corky Kell Stadium.
Wheeler (0-2) was a victim of a slow start, with only 35 total yards.
Dutchtown (1-1) set the tone on its opening drive when Cramer had carries for 10 and 15 yards before scoring five plays later on a 5-yard run.
Although Wheeler moved the ball better in the second half, Dutchtown kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard until there were 5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Alexander Stack hit Devin Clark for a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Cramer, meanwhile, set the tone in Dutchtown's opening drive of the game with carries of 15 and 10 yards before scoring on a 5-yarder.
“When you come out, you've got to play fast,” Wheeler coach Bryan Love said. “Then, halftime came, and the effort the kids gave was better, but it is my job to make sure that you have a faster start.”
Wheeler adjusted defensively with two red-zone stops in the first half, but the offense took a bit longer to move the ball. The Wildcats had the ball just three times and punted twice.
Dutchtown added to its lead in the second quarter on a 3-yard scamper by Fedd, a Kennesaw State commit.
The Bulldogs took a three-touchdown lead on their opening drive of the second half on four plays that ended with Fedd punching it in from 1 yard out.
Wheeler's passing game started clicking in the second half. After a lackluster first-half performance, Stack ended up completing 16 of 27 pass attempts for 168 yards after throwing just 23 in the first half.
Wheeler's opening drive of the second half ate nearly 6 minutes of clock. The Wildcats managed to get in the red zone after Stack completed four of five pass attempts, but back-to-back incompletions stalled the drive on the Dutchtown 20.
The game then turned for the worse early in the fourth quarter when a bad snap by Wheeler went through the end zone for a safety.
Wheeler managed to sustain another lengthy drive after Kaleb Simon recovered a Dutchtown fumble, but the drive ended with an interception deep in Dutchtown territory.
After Wheeler scored its lone touchdown, Dutchtown chewed the remaining 5 minutes of the game.