The names may change, but one thing at Garden Plain remains a constant – a devastating rushing attack.
Trinity Academy would not dispute that after the Owls amassed 352 rushing yards and rolled to a 57-21 Central Plains League victory Friday.
“We feel like we want to be able to march the ball down the field,” first-year coach Brad McCormick said. “We feel that any one of our kids in the backfield can do that successfully. That makes it nice, so nobody can just key on one kid.”
Senior Dylan Clark led the way, gaining 102 yards on 14 carries and scoring on runs of 2, 2 and 3 yards for Garden Plain (4-0, 4-0), which held on to a share of the league lead with defending Class 3A champion Conway Springs. The two teams will meet Oct. 5 at Garden Plain.
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“I have to give a lot of credit to my offensive line,” Clark said. “We could have driven a truck through those holes.”
Not even graduation could slow the Owls’ running game. Friday, four Garden Plain backs gained 50 yards or more.
“We’ve got all these backs, and we just keep going,” Clark said.
Garden Plain wasted no time in establishing its dominance, taking the opening kickoff and driving 72 yards in 12 plays – all on the ground, naturally – and taking a 7-0 lead.
The Owls scored on four of their six first-half drives, and also got a safety when the snap on a Trinity punt went out of the end zone.
Senior Tim Bugner excelled on both sides of the ball, rushing for a 71-yard touchdown, but also getting a key interception to halt a Trinity drive.
“He’s our utility player,” McCormick said.
Despite its rushing success, Garden Plain is far from being one-dimensional. Junior quarterback Caleb Arnold made the most of his five completions, with three going for touchdowns. He hooked up with senior Nick Schumacher for 11- and 41-yard touchdown passes within a 2:49 span in the third quarter.
Trinity (2-2, 2-2) got a big game from sophomore running back Tyler Burns, who rushed for 145 yards and scored on runs of 6 and 35 yards.
GP – Clark 2 run (Puetz kick) 6:33
GP – Panek 32 pass from Arnold (pass failed), 2:15
TA – Burns 6 run (Miller kick), 16.2
GP – Safety, ball snapped out of end zone
GP – Arnold 19 run (Puetz kick), 6:42
GP – Clark 2 run (Puetz kick), 2:54
TA – Poulos 38 pass from Jones (Miller kick) 0:55
GP – Schumacher 11 pass from Arnold (Puetz kick), 7:31
GP – Schumacher 41 pass from Arnold (Puetz kick), 4:40
TA – Burns 35 run (Miller kick) 0:59.7
GP – Clark 3 run (Puetz kick) 10:01
GP – Bugner 71 run (Puetz kick) 6:07
Rushing — Garden Plain: Doyle 7-39, Arnold 8-69, Balestracci 10-63, Clark 14-102, Bugner 1-71, G. Lehner 1-3, Hageman 1-3, Wheelock 1-2. Trinity Academy: Burns 15-145, Jones 10-(-12).
Passing — Garden Plain: Arnold 5-6-0-68. Trinity Academy: Jones 13-26-1-147.
Receiving — Garden Plain: Panek 1-32, Schumacher 3-30, Doyle 1-6. Trinity Academy: Poulos 6-100, Burns 3-26, Eden 3-17, Harkness 1-4.