CLAYTON - The Wildwood High School football team was tired of quiet bus rides.
The Warriors avoided one Saturday with a 28-13 win over Clayton - the school's first victory since 2008.
"We had six away games in the (West Jersey Football League) last year and there were some long bus rides home," Wildwood coach Jamie Peterson said. "I think this one is going to go pretty quick."
Wildwood's last win came on Oct. 10, 2008, a 24-18 triple-overtime win that was also against Clayton. Saturday's win snapped a 22-game losing streak.
Zak Barrett started at quarterback for Wildwood (1-1) as a freshman during the 2008 season. Barrett was under center again Saturday.
"We're on top of the world right now," Barrett said. "It's the best feeling. It's like we just won the Super Bowl."
Clayton, which beat Wildwood 14-12 with a late field goal last season, took a 13-6 lead into halftime Saturday.
But Wildwood dominated in the second half.
After forcing a turnover on the opening kickoff, Wildwood drove down the field before finding itself in a fourth-and-1 at Clayton's 5-yard line.
Barrett faked a give to running back Wesley Hills, rolled to his right and found Devon Bradshaw for a 5-yard touchdown pass to make it a 13-12 Clayton lead.
The Warriors still needed a play.
That's just what they got as Clayton attempted to punt out of its own end zone.
Wildwood had no intentions of returning the kick. The Warriors packed the box with all 11 players and brought the rush.
A bad snap allowed Hills and Tyler DeGroff to get to the punter for a safety and a 14-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Hills is only a junior and had never won a high school game before Saturday.
"Words can't even describe the feeling," Hills said. "We're feeling great right now. First high school win, that's crazy. I can't even believe it."
Hills was everywhere Saturday. He finished with 26 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He also had five tackles, a fumble forced and recovered and a sack.
"This brought us closer as a team," Hills said. "It's been three years since we won a game so we had to get back out there and do it.
"We were following what the coaches said. We just got out there and played our game. I can't believe it. I want to go have us a party."
Hills made it a 22-13 game with a 4-yard t.ouchdown run midway through the fourth quarter and Barrett found Devon Bradshaw for an 18-yard touchdown to round out the scoring.
Barrett was 13-for-20 for 182 yards and two touchdowns. His favorite target was Bradshaw, who finished with seven catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Eddie Lopizzo led the defense with eight tackles.
"When you've got a big game you've got to go to your playmakers and they stepped it up," Peterson said. "I'm just so proud of these boys."
Barrett was proud of his team for not accepting the loss as a given. Instead, the Warriors, who dressed only 22 players and started three freshmen, came out and outscored the Clippers 22-0 after halftime.
Barrett plans on exorcising some demons when he gets to school on Monday.
"I'm on top of the world right now," Barrett said. "I can't wait to go to my school and just scream."
Contact John O'Kane:
Wildwood 0 6 6 16-28
Clayton 7 6 0 0-13
C-Nicholas 80 pass from Kinsley (Downes kick)
W-Hills 2 run (kick failed)
C-Nicholas 3 pass from Kinsley (kick failed)
W-Bradshaw 3 pass from Barrett (run failed)
W-Safety (DeGroff sack in end zone on punt try)
W-Hills 4 run (Barrett pass to Bradshaw)
W-Bradshaw 18 pass from Barrett (run failed)
Passing-Barrett 13-20-182-2 W.
Rushing-Hills 26-106, Bradshaw 2-4, Tomlinson 1-(-2), Christian 4-5 W.
Receiving-Bradshaw 7-106, Hills 3-32, Howell 2-28, Christian 1-16.
Records-Wildwood 1-1; Clayton 0-2.
Note: Clayton stats were unavailable