Grove City wins D10 Title 35-14Written by: David Burnworth on Sunday, November 12th, 2017
–¬†Greenville High School
Saturday evening undefeated Grove City was set to battle Meadville, who had tasted defeat three times during the regular season. In watching the teams warm up and adding to the fact that I was able to see how potent Grove City offense is and how well their defense can play, I did not expect this game to be much of a contest. Also factor in that Bulldogs are your basic wing-t type team and there you have all of the ingredients for a not so close game.
Only :53 seconds into this one the Eagles offense was already soaring high and a catch by Brady Callahan took the ball all the way to the Bulldogs 21-yard-line. Then at the 10:30 mark the 5-play, 58-yard drive came to an end on a 1-yard power run by Trey Adams. Adams is listed as a 210 pound running back/fullback but he plays much, much bigger. The point after kick from Aidan Reed was good and this was a 7-0 game
The Bulldogs have a two-way stud of their own in Isaiah Manning and with a little over ten minutes still left in the opening quarter, he would sprint to a 20-yard run, showing that he and his team was not going to cave in after one easy score by the Eagles. The Bulldogs converted a fourth and three at the 7:29 mark, not only picking up the first down, but again showing true belief in their offense and their own ability to run it. The drive came to a screeching halt a short time later as the Eagles defense flexed their muscles and made some plays.
Mistakes can make or break a team and this was put to the test when a snap sailed high, causing the Grove City punter #16 Ben Knouse to be tackled on his own 8-yard-line by the Bulldogs London Beck,with 3:34 left in the quarter.
The Bulldogs offense needed just one play to go the 8-yards needed for the score, with Manning doing the honors, with a nice powerful run. The point after by Julius Ream locked this one up at seven apiece, with 3:28 left in the first. At this point emotion was running high for the Bulldogs as well as confidence, but as the saying here in Ohio goes, that can only carry a team so far. Would this be the case in this one? The Bulldogs had not played the first quarter like a team that was playing on emotions only, at the same time the Eagles seemed relaxed and ready to shake off the mistake they had made, that led to this game being locked up.
The Eagles had ran 12-plays on their current drive having worked the ball down to the Bulldogs 23-yard-line and on play number thirteen Brady Callahan found Logan Lutz for the touchdown. The point after made this a 14-7 contest, with 11:46 left in the half. The Eagles offense looked on cruise control on this drive, while the Bulldogs defense at times looked lost. The effort was there on the part of the defense, but they were simply over-matched on the drive.
As most know the wing-T offense, offense has a lack of a serious passing game more times than not. Passing is more of a trick to catch the defense off guard and with 8:49 left on the clock, the passing game showed a major weakness when Lutz made an easy pick for the Eagles.
The Eagles looked to have a 58-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to Qadir Muhammad, but a illegal formation was called against the offense negating the long score. Muhammad was wide opened over the middle and simply outran the defense after the catch. The kid looked like Bullet Bob Hayes, the former Dallas Cowboys speedster who himself made a living out running defenses. Thirty-four seconds later the Eagles ran a nice little screen pass to AJ Miller. The Bulldogs defense held true to their test and stop the drive before anymore damage could be done.
The Eagles had the ball to start their next drive on their own 30-yard-line and needed just one play to score again. This time it would be a catch and run by Qadir Muhammad, who once again turned the speed on and left the defense in the dust. The point after kick made this a 21-7 Eagles lead, with 3:24 left in the half.
Manning would be stopped for a 2-yard-loss, with 3:05 left in the half and it appeared after this play, that this game was over and done. Not due to effort, but more of the case that energy can only carry a good team so far against a team that is that simply more talented. The final score of the half came with 11:5 seconds lefts, when Muhammad grab in a pass and took it 23-yards to the end zone.The point after kick was blocked, leaving this a 27-7 Eagles lead.
Watching the teams coming back out of the locker rooms,it looked like the Bulldogs were a team beaming with confidence and full of emotions all in a positive way. As a fan, you have to hand it to those young men and their coaching staff for this, because many of underdogs would have come out flat and look like they wanted no part of the second half. Grove City looked relaxed and ready just like they have both times this Ohio guy has watched them play.
Manning would get the Bulldogs started just :21 seconds into the third quarter, with a sweet 52-yard run. On the drives seventh play Layne Reeher hauled in a pass that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown. The point after closed the gap to 27-14, with 8:42 left in the third.
With 6:40 left in the quarter a screen pass to Lutz resulted in a 11-yard loss, when Manning took down the receiver. As good as Manning is on offense, I think he has a brighter future as a hard hitting linebacker. This drive ended soon after as the Bulldogs defense seemed to have gotten its bark back in a ferocious way.
Manning put the ball on the ground at the 2:38 mark of the quarter and coming up with it for the high flying Eagles was Nick Murawski. The ball would be spotted on the Eagles 42-yard-line giving the Eagles a very short field to work with.
The Eagles offense got to work after the fumble recovery and after 12-plays, including three passes that all were completed, had taken the ball to the Bulldogs 1-yard-line and from there everyone in the stands knew that Trey Adams was going to get his number called. He did and the result was another Eagles score. A two-point conversion run from Lutz was successful making this a 35-14 game, with 9:44 left.
One final nice play by the Bulldogs offense took place at the 7:33 mark, when London Beck picked up 34-yards.
That never quit, never give up attitude never went away from the Bulldogs, even as the clock slowly reached all zeros.
240 YARDS(98 IN THE FIRST HALF)
PASSING 8-14 1 TD
445 YARDS(357 IN THE FIRST HALF)
PASSING 16-18 3 TD’S
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