Jeff Freeman wanted fans to remember that Wyatt Sharp is only in his first year playing football.
Sharp, a junior for the Marysville High football team, played just his fifth game at quarterback for the Indians Friday night in a non-league game at Gridley’s Boneyard.
To begin with, Sharp had a rough go, throwing three first-half interceptions all to the same guy – sophomore Shay Carr, which helped Gridley strike first and go onto a commanding 27-8 win over Marysville.
“He’s playing the toughest position you can at quarterback,” said Freeman, Marysville’s first-year head coach. “Each week he’s learning something new between reading corner backs, outside linebackers, safeties. He is as green as green can be.”
Sharp battled back in the second half and continued developing what seems like a good-looking connection with fellow junior Devon Conway. Sharp and Conway hooked up four times for 72 yards and a two-point conversion in the closing seconds, which helped Marysville (2-3) complete its first scoring drive in two seasons against Gridley (3-1).
Freeman said the passing duo is only going to get better.
“Conway and Sharp have been a pretty good connection all year,” he said. “We’re going to exploit that a lot as the season continues.”
After a scoreless opening quarter, in which both teams committed a turnover, the mistake bug came to the forefront again about the seven-minute mark of the second when Sharp found Carr for his second interception.
The Bulldogs proceeded to answer with a three-plus minute drive, capped by a 16-yard touchdown run from quarterback Cameron Carr to give Gridley the early 6-0 lead.
Carr and Sharp would find each other once more at the 3:30 mark, giving Carr the interception hat trick. On the ensuing play, Gridley pushed ahead 13-0 when Arden Anderson sprinted home for a 30-yard touchdown a mere 15 seconds after the miscue.
“(The picks) were a momentum boost for them, because with two of them we were charging down and then all of a sudden they were reversing the field,” Freeman said. “They got two touchdowns off the (picks).”
For Gridley, it was pleasing to see a young player give a charge early.
“We just called him up (from JV),” Gridley coach Matt Kemmis said. “Three first-half interceptions, holy cow. He’s not going anywhere. He’s a good football player.”
Anderson, in his first game back in the feature back role, continued to run hard behind his line with 141 yards on 15 carries, while sophomore Ryan Smith led the attack with 125 yards and a 33-yard scoring run in the second half, pushing Gridley in front, 27-0 in the fourth.
Marysville’s Jerriah Mcbath was the work horse for the Indians with 97 yards, while Jake Morawcznski capped the team’s last drive with a 3-yard TD plunge up the middle to give Marysville some needed confidence heading into the Lindhurst week next in the 47th Battle of the Bell.
Gridley, meanwhile, makes the trip to Anderson next week to wrap up non-league play.