WOOD RIVER -- The East Alton-Wood River Oilers finished with a 1-8 mark last season.
But they certainly didn’t look like a 1-8 football team in Friday’s season opener against the Dupo Tigers.
EA-WR trounced Dupo 47-0 in a non-conference contest at Memorial Stadium.
“We wanted to come out and win this one bad,” EA-WR coach Garry Herron said. “We know we have a tough opponent next week (Taylorville). We worked really hard and prepared all summer long for this game. We haven’t had a win in their first game in eight or nine years.”
The Oilers scored on their second drive of the game. They put together a five-play, 82-yard drive capped off by touchdown from junior running back Gabe Grimes at the 7:29 mark. Then, Austin Carlisle kicked a PAT to give EA-WR a 7-0 lead.
EA-WR also had a 34-yard carry by Zach Womack and a 19-yard carry from T.J. Lawson during the drive.
After the Oilers recovered the ball on an onside kick, Womack scored a touchdown at the 7:05 mark to give East Alton-Wood River a 14-0 lead.
Grimes scored his second touchdown and Carlisle kicked the PAT with 2:28 left in the first quarter to increase the Oilers’ lead to 21-0.
“Last year, that was something we really didn’t have. We couldn’t sustain a drive and finish,” Herron said. “That’s what we’ve been talking to the kids about. When we start at the 10 (yard line) we have to go down there and finish. It feels good.”
Grimes scored his third touchdown – a 35-yard run -- with just 49 seconds into the second quarter to boost EA-WR’s lead to 27-0.
Grimes attended EA-WR last year, but he didn’t play with the school’s football team.
“I’m very proud of my boys, this is my first time being here and they made me feel welcome,” Grimes said. “Me being here, I push them and they push me.”
Womack scored his second touchdown – a 60-yard run -- with 8:11 to go in the second to give the Oilers a 33-point advantage. Quarterback Justin Englar connected on a five-yard pass to Lawson in the end zone to increase it to 40-0 with 2:20 left to play in the first half.
Sophomore quarterback Trenton Darr replaced Englar after the first series in the second half. Englar passed for 58 yards in the first half.
The Oilers rushed for 319 yards in the first half. They led 40-0 at halftime.
“A lot of things didn’t go right for us,” Dupo coach Brad Weier said. “It was not what we were expecting, a lot of mental mistakes early. Basically, the team in maroon wanted it more than the team in white. It showed a lot in blocking and tackling, from the first to the last.”
Weier agreed that EA-WR’s offensive line was effective, as it blew holes in Dupo’s defensive line throughout the contest.
“We had no answer for them,” he said. “They were in our backfield before we moved our feet.”
Herron was pleased with the effort from his offensive line. Mark Vann, Jacob Vassos, Joey Copeland, Zach Kincade, Adam Copeland and Lukas Westbrook were the EA-WR starting offensive linemen.
“We lost three offensive linemen last year,” he said. “But our kids worked so hard in the off-season. From the linemen to the backs, they’ve worked extremely hard. Our line, we put a lot of pressure on them from week to week and they’re going to see a lot of blitzes.”
Thaddeus Weaver scored the Oilers’ final touchdown with 3:43 left to play in the game.
The Oilers will return to action next Friday with a home game against Taylorville.