ANDOVER – Very few area teams habitually share the rushing wealth as much as Whittier. But even the Wildcats know how to ride a hot back.
Jesus Sanchez handled the bulk of Whittier’s offensive load yesterday morning as the Wildcats opened Commonwealth Conference play with a convincing 43-20 victory over Greater Lawrence.
It was Whittier’s first victory over its conference rival — and Thanksgiving Day game foe — since a 28-18 win in 2009.
“It feels good to know we beat them finally,” said the 5-foot-6 Sanchez, who ran for four of Whittier’s six touchdowns. “We’ll meet them again on Thanksgiving, but this one means a little bit more.”
The day meant a lot to Sanchez, who finished with 143 yards. Until his final carry of the game midway through the fourth, Sanchez had 17 of Whittier’s 23 rushing attempts and 17 of the team’s 32 plays overall.
“We practiced that all week,” said Sanchez, who now has 457 yards and six touchdowns on 57 carries through four games. “It was just running and pounding the ball right up the middle. It feels good, and you just want to keep doing it again and again. That’s all we kept doing.”
Sanchez opened the scoring with runs of 14 and 6 yards in the first period. He added a 5-yarder midway through the second for a 30-6 lead before capping his big day with a tackle-breaking, 31-yarder with 5:33 left in the third for Whittier’s final touchdown.
“When you have a Sanchez, you look for him early and you look for him often,” Whittier coach Kevin Bradley said. “He’s the type of person that can make many great things happen out there.
“A good example was there was a play we had everyone blocking to the left and somehow he took off right like a shotgun and got like 15 yards. I thought, ‘Geez, we couldn’t draw that up any better,’ and he did it all on his own because everyone was blocking the other way.”