NORMAN — There was no question when Brady Kulbeth took over duties under center that Washington’s offense would still be effective. The junior filled in for the Warriors in Week 10 after Brock Harmon went out with an ACL injury and moved the offense along, stringing together four drives of at least nine plays in that game.
But even coaches didn’t know the offense would be as good as it was in last week’s lopsided 41-21 win over Lexington in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. Kulbeth took the reins of the offense and took Washington out to an early lead against the Bulldogs, one the Warriors never relinquished.
It was Kulbeth’s first career start after moving to quarterback from receiver. He went through his first full week of practice under center before the Lexington game, and put that experience to good use. He broke several big plays got the Warriors off to a big lead early and finished with 161 yards and three touchdowns on just 12
He wasn’t the only one to find success against the Bulldogs. Running back Luke Ladlee added another 152 yards.
“The holes were everywhere,” Ladlee said after the game. “We could pretty much run it where we wanted.”
As much as Kulbeth and Ladlee were explosive upon finding the whole, the offensive line was relentless in creating it.
“We put the game in our offensive line’s hands, and they wanted and accepted that challenge,” coach Brad Beller said. “We only threw the ball twice. You’ve got to give Brady and Luke credit; they won their one-on-ones, but it’s all due to the line that it was possible.”
It’s a sentiment Kulbeth echoed, and one he knows the Warriors (8-2) will need more of as they travel to meet Hennessey (10-1) at 7:30 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s second-round playoff contest.
Hennessey’s line, on both sides of the ball, is its biggest strength, and the Warriors know they’ll need another big game from their own line to compete. Both teams like to keep the ball on the ground and grind out yardage, and the game will largely be decided up front.
“We’ve got to have a good game on the line, and we have to be able to get off the field on third down,” Beller said. “Offensively, we want to control the clock and keep their offense off the field.”
It’s a tough task, but not an impossible one. And with his first career start and another week of practice now behind him, Kulbeth is ready for the biggest start of his career at quarterback.
“We know their line is their big thing, and if we don’t block well we’ll get beat,” he said. “But I know we can win.”
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