UPPER SANDUSKY - Jake Moyer is a homewrecker.
The longtime Mohawk football coach now coaches at Upper Sandusky and he and his team weren't very kind to his old school on Friday night.
The Rams pounded Mohawk, 38-13, to capture the Tahre Trophy and moved the Rams to 2-1 on the year heading into league play.
"Mohawk is my home but I'm proud to be a Ram," the Upper Sandusky coach said.
The tone was set early as Upper Sandusky used a nearly perfectly balanced attack in the first half (98 yards passing and 96 yards rushing) to take a 24-0 lead into halftime.
"The balance we showed tonight was to a great degree not me, but my assistant coaches who do a fantastic job. Aaron Frazee is the offensive coordinator and Dale Piecha is the defensive coordinator and I try not to get in their way," Moyer said. "I let them do their thing and try not to get in their way. So far that works out great."
Needless to say, Mohawk coach Erik Baker was hot about his team's performance, particularly in the first half.
"I'm not pleased. I'm not pleased at all with how we competed or didn't compete in that first half," Baker said. "That's embarrassing and we'll address that."
He had a right to be upset. The Warriors were stymied to just 53 total yards in the first half with two turnovers, a blocked punt and a lost kickoff after Upper Sandusky's first touchdown.
"We stressed the fact that we went out and laid an egg last week. We really did. We really got on them about that," Moyer said. "I said this week we're not going to lay an egg. We're going to come out and try to play perfectly and do things the right way."
In his anger, Baker abandoned the spread offense the team had been trying to install this season and went back to the Mohawk bread and butter: pound, pound and pound some more.
"Basically, we told them we were going Flintstones. We've been trying to do this spread stuff and this gun stuff and I'm not going to put up with it," Baker said. "We went back to what we're about. We got in the I and tried to establish the running game and all that. That's not necessarily our quarterback's strength but I wanted to prove a point to our offensive line."
In the process, the Warriors may have discovered a star tailback in Gunnar Johnson. The sophomore scampered for 56 yards in the second half, threw for another 39 and had 33 yards receiving.
"Unfortunately for us, (Grant) Ekleberry had to sit out with a head injury but Gunnar showed he can play," Baker said. "He's a sophomore. He's a dynamic kid. He has some wiggle in the open field. He's a multi-tool kid. He can throw it. He can catch it. It's a matter of getting him some reps and some confidence and having some success around him."
Moyer said he was impressed by Johnson's efforts.
"It looks like he found someone and his quarterback (Drew Loose) is just as good if not better than we thought," Moyer said.
Mohawk had outgained the Rams by the end of the night, 297-291, something not lost on Moyer.
"It was a hard-fought game, more than the score would indicate. Erik Baker is a great coach. His teams always come to win. They always come prepared and they will never, never, never give up," Moyer said.
Upper Sandusky came out on its first drive and in seven plays drove 50 yards for a touchdown, with Will Adelsperger scoring the first of two touchdowns on the night on a 7-yard plunge.
Cory Frey recovered the ensuing squib kick but the Rams stalled out 10 yards shy of the end zone.
Mohawk (1-2) couldn't get any farther than three yards and then Ian Baker got his hand in on Eric Maskey's punt and Upper started its drive on the Mohawk 22. Five plays later, Adelsperger was in the end zone again and Upper Sandusky had a 12-0 lead.
Late in the second, the Rams began to put the hammer down with Tylor Pritchard finding Brennen Miller on a 20-yard post pattern for a score.
Two and a half minutes later, after an Upper Sandusky fumble recovery, the Rams were in the end zone again. This time it was Pritchard, who threw for 96 yards on 8 of 17 passing, finding a streaking Donald Barth in the front of the end zone for a 8-yard touchdown and a 24-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Mohawk started out with a little more of the same, stalling out on a drive in Upper territory and losing a fumble near midfield.
That set up the first of Pritchard's two second half rushing touchdowns. This one went for nine yards while his score in the fourth went seven yards.
Mohawk answered the bell after Pritchard's first score. Johnson really shone on this drive, converting a third and seven with an 18-yard blast and three plays later connecting on a halfback pass with Mitch Parker, who was finally brought down at the one. Johnson took care of driving it into the end zone on the next play to make it 30-6.
After Upper Sandusky made it 38-6 with 6:16 left in the game, Mohawk came back and in three plays raced 60 yards and Johnson found pay dirt again from four yards out. Joe Godinez converted the only extra point of the night to give the final margin.
Pritchard finished with 119 yards rushing on the night and Barth had five catches for 54 yards. Parker had 104 yards receiving for Mohawk.
"We have some kids here still finding themselves," Baker said. "The good thing for us is next week we're 0-0 going into the league. The bad thing is you don't want to rediscover yourself going into Carey week. That's our situation and we'll address it."