Monday, November 13th, 2006
By Ryan Hines
St. Henry blows out Marion Pleasant again
Puthoff rushes for 267 yards in 'Skins shutout
PIQUA - The first time that Marion Pleasant and St. Henry met during the opening week of the season it was a blowout in the Redskins' favor, but not many expected a lop-sided score in the second meeting on Saturday night in postseason action at Alexander Stadium in Piqua.
After winning by 28 points in the August matchup, St. Henry again posted a blowout over Marion Pleasant as the Redskins rolled to a dominating 27-0 victory over the Spartans in Division V regional semifinal action.
St. Henry (11-1) advances to Saturday's regional final to be played at Wapakoneta at noon against Lima Central Catholic (11-1), which defeated Allen East 42-0.
When the Redskins beat Marion Pleasant 35-7 in August it was the passing game that paved the way to the win, but in the second meeting it was all Andy Puthoff.
Puthoff, the Midwest Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was the workhorse for the Redskins carrying the ball 25 times for 267 yards and three touchdowns.
"He's as big as most of our linemen and their line does a great job of opening holes for him," said Marion Pleasant head coach Chris Kubbs. "We saw that they started to run the ball more as the season wore on and we saw a lot of running tonight."
"Our line did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage and giving us some big running lanes," said St. Henry head coach Jeff Starkey. "We need to control the line of scrimmage and we did that."
While Puthoff was piling up the yards behind a dominant run-blocking offensive line, the Redskins defense was shutting down Marion Pleasant's highly-regarded rush game. The Spartans rushed 33 times for just 83 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and amassed just 148 yards of total offense.
"Our defense played well tonight," said Starkey. "We ran to the ball and then tackled well once we got there."
St. Henry took control right from the start taking the opening kickoff and driving 67 yards on eight plays for a touchdown while taking 3:40 off the clock. Puthoff carried the ball seven times on the eight-play drive, including the final three for the score, with Doug Griesdorn firing a 17-yard pass to Zack Thobe to get the Redskins into the red zone.
Marion Pleasant then had a nine-play drive stall near midfield before punting and giving St. Henry the ball back at its own 15-yard line.
The poor field position didn't seem to bother the Redskins as the Red and White cranked up the rushing attack again on the way to another touchdown. This time it was a 12-play drive covering 88 yards with Puthoff scoring for the second time on a beautiful run. Puthoff took the handoff and burst up the middle, then twisted and spinned for an eight-yard score.
Holding a 14-0 advantage behind the two Puthoff scores, it was time for the St. Henry defense to step into the spotlight. Marion Pleasant drove 10 plays down to a first-and-goal from the one-yard line but the Redskins weren't about to give up a score. Nathan Conley tried three straight times unsuccessfully before Jake Lawrence took the fourth-down handoff and was stuffed by the Redskins with just eight seconds left on the clock before halftime. Marion Pleasant's drive lasted 7:21 but yielded no points, a big moment in the game according to Kubbs.
"That was a big play in the game," pointed out Kubbs. "If we can get a score there, it changes the way we go into the locker room and it changes the way we come out of the locker room.
"You don't see a defensive stand like that from the one very often," said Starkey. "If they get a score right there before half, it changes the complexion of the game. That was a fantastic stand for us."
Puthoff's third score of the night came midway through the third quarter. With the Redskins starting their drive from its own 14-yard line, Puthoff rushed once for three yards before breaking loose and showing some speed on the next carry. On the second play of the drive, Puthoff took the handoff and was barely touched passing the line of scrimmage before busting out down the sidelines and outrunning the Marion Pleasant defense for an 83-yard touchdown run by the powerful back.
A Ryan Hartke interception set up the Redskins' final score in the fourth quarter. Hartke's INT gave St. Henry the ball near midfield and then 10 plays later Ryan Lefeld scored from two yards out to put the Redskins in control 27-0. Lefeld carried 10 times in the game for 61 yards.
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