A connotation, whether fair or not, comes along with being a pass-happy offense, as the Collegiate football team has found out.
A team that doesn’t run is one that isn’t physical, the logic goes.
But when Collegiate senior Seth Carder, a brute with 210 pounds packed on his 5-foot-10 frame, lowers his shoulders and delivers a blow, whether it be as a running back or a linebacker, this theory crumbles like whoever is in front of him.
When Carder establishes the Spartans’ rushing attack, as he did Saturday against Clearwater, results like the 51-13 victory for Collegiate occur. The league battle was played a night later than scheduled after a lightning postponement pushed it to Saturday.
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“People don’t view us as a very physical team,” said Carder, who racked up 164 rushing yards and a touchdown. “But I think we showed the state tonight that we are a physical team and we’re ready to hit some people.”
For the first time this season, Collegiate finished with more rushing yards (244) than passing yards (223).
Even though Landon Root, a future Division-I quarterback at Northern Illinois, stands in the pocket for the Spartans, coach Mike Gehrer knows the offense is at its best when it has a reliable running game.
“Seth just punishes people out there and he’s done that for three games in a row now,” Gehrer said. “He’s a big piece of the puzzle for us. We’ve got to keep creating opportunities for him.”
On Saturday, opportunities were aplenty for every Spartan.
Seven different players -— Carder, Root, Bret Waddell, Jack Copher, Austin Waddell, Ryan Emmitt, and Max Moxley — scored points for Collegiate in the rout,.
Root had 223 passing yards and four touchdowns to be excited about, but instead opted to mention Carder’s work in the running game as the most notable part of the game.
An offensive line anchored by senior Mitchell Copeland made its case as the more physical side, as Collegiate averaged better than eight yards per carry with the starters in the game.
“Whenever he runs over people, it gets us fired up to give him the ball back and have him run over some more people,” Root said. “And then right when you think he’s going to do it again, I can pull it out and throw it downfield.”
Clearwater, meanwhile, couldn’t establish its running game and lost the field position battle.
Not that it mattered too much — Collegiate (3-2) scored on six of its seven first-half possessions in less than eight minutes to take a 37-7 halftime lead.
Clearwater senior Johnny Becker provided the highlight of the game for the Indians on an 88-yard kick return for a touchdown in the second quarter. The Indians fell to 3-2 with the loss.
“We had our chances,” Clearwater coach Dirk Ankerholz said. “We had guys running open all over the field in the first half, but we just couldn’t hook up. And then you struggle throwing the ball, everybody creeps closer to the line of scrimmage and it makes it harder to run.”
WCS—B. Waddell 31 pass from L. Root (Moxley kick)
WCS—Moxley 23 field goal
WCS—Se. Carder 10 run (Moxley kick failed)
WCS—Copher 19 pass from L. Root (Moxley kick)
Clw—Becker 88 kick return (Baughman kick)
WCS—L. Root 10 run (Moxley kick)
WCS—A. Waddell 26 pass from L. Root (Moxley kick)
WCS—Copher 3 pass from L. Root (Moxley kick)
WCS—Emmitt recovers fumble in end zone (Moxley kick)
Clw—Thomas 8 pass from Cotton (Cotton pass failed)
Rushing—Clearwater, Hall 13-63, Becker 6-62, Roth 9-15, Wright 5-11, Layton 4-11, Thomas 2-5, Adamson 4-4, Cotton 3-0, Whetstone 1-0; Collegiate, Se. Carder 18-164, Simms 4-50, A. Waddell 2-19, Burgoyne 3-12, Copher 1-8, L. Root 2-8, B. Waddell 1-4, Roeser 2-(-6), Su. Carder 2-(-7), Copeland 1-(-8).
Passing—Clearwater, Hall 3-14-0-55, Cotton 2-3-0-23; Collegiate, L. Root 14-22-0-223, A. Waddell 0-1-0-0.
Receiving—Clearwater, Becker 2-41, Rausch 1-15, Roth 1-14, Thomas 1-8; Collegiate, B. Waddell 5-97, Copher 4-51, Flamini 3-29, A. Waddell 1-26, Simms 1-20.