WILD HORSES: Mustangs stomp Stingers in D6 quarters
Written by: Josh Funk on Sunday, November 15th, 2009
PORTAGE, Pa. – As Marion Center head coach Dave Malicky addressed his team after the Stingers’ District 6 class “A” quarterfinal match with Portage, a freight train rumbled up the tracks behind the stadium.
Moments earlier, the Stingers felt the force of a different type of freight train – the Portage Wing-T offense – and there was little the green and gold could do to stop it.
Portage (10-0) rolled to 416 rushing yards and 505 yards of total offense in a convincing 54-6 drubbing of Marion Center (8-3) at Portage Stadium Saturday night.
With the victory, the Mustangs will take on the undefeated Bellwood-Antis Blue Devils next Saturday night in Bellwood. Bellwood-Antis defeated Blacklick Valley 34-14 in its quarterfinal game. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
The Mustangs entered the game averaging 49.8 points per game, easily District 6’s highest-scoring football team. Marion Center found that out early and often.
“We’re not a slow football team,” said Stinger head man Dave Malicky. “But they made us look slow at times tonight.”
Operating sometimes at warp speed, Portage jumped to a 41-0 halftime lead and had finished its scoring for the night before the Stingers got on the board via a 75-yard run by Jed Peterson against the Portage reserves in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs opened the game with runs of 10 and 13 yards by Tommy Burgan and Mike Sinosky, respectively. Two Jake Kostan touchdown runs were negated by holding penalties, but Sinosky still found the end zone from four yards out, giving Portage a 7-0 lead.
Sinosky scored on a 44-yard run with 1:34 left in the first quarter, and then ran in the two-point conversion for a 15-0 Mustang lead. At that point, Sinosky had run for 104 yards and scored all 15 Portage points.
The Mustangs showcased their aerial assault after forcing a Stinger punt. Just 10 seconds into the second quarter, Taylor Swires hooked up with Ryan Scoran on a 59-yard bomb to push the Portage lead to 21-0.
One reporter made note to Portage head coach Gary Gouse that some visitors made the comment, “We only have to stop the run.”
“Good,” Gouse said. “I hope people think like that so that we can let our two good receivers go.”
Swires threw for 91 yards on the night, completing four of his five passes. Scoran had three catches for 84 yards.
Portage added three more second quarter scores – a Burgan 19-yard run and two Kostan runs of 2 and 45 yards – to build its lead to 41-0 and invoke the mercy rule at the start of the second half. By halftime, Portage had outgained Marion Center on the ground, 255-21, and in total offense, 346-21.
Sinsosky opened the second half with a 15-yard scoring run, his third of the night, pushing the Mustangs lead to 47-0. Gouse pulled the starters at that juncture, but Portage did add one more touchdown, a Jesse Kreutzberger (7 rushes, 22 yards) six-yard run with 3:29 left in the game.
On this night, Portage ran for 416 yards on 44 carries. Sinosky led the way with 160 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns. Burgan finished with 60 yards on seven carries; Kostan had 65 yards on five carries; and reserve Jalen Noel finished with 63 yards on six attempts.
Portage finished with 23 first downs to Marion Center’s five.
The Stingers attempted only five passes, completing none. Peterson keyed the ground attack with 118 yards on 11 carries, most of those yards coming on the touchdown run. Justin LaMantia added eight yards on seven attempts and quarterback Ryan Lightcamp five yards on eight carries.
As a team, Marion Center ran for 131 yards on 29 attempts. Take away the long Peterson touchdown run, and Portage’s first team and reserves held the Stingers to just 56 yards of offense (all rushing) on 28 carries and 33 total plays.
NOTES: Portage’s final touchdown gave the Mustangs 503 points for the season. Portage is the 156th team in state history to score 500 or more points in a season, and the fourth such team to accomplish the feat in 2009, joining the Gateway Gators, Clairton Bears, and Selinsgrove Seals. Eighteen teams scored 500+ points in 2008.
The Mustangs are the first District 6 team ever with consecutive 500-point teams. Bishop Carroll produced three such teams, but staggered them every other year from 1999 to 2003.
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