By Aaron Korte
COLUMBUS - It was barely audible, but if you listened closely, you could hear it.
Marcellus Calhoun zipped out of the backfield and into the open field.
Ja'Wuan Woodley flashed past defenders.
Dominique Scott would appear one second, and the next second he was gone.
Bishop Hartley's pack of road runners rolled up 468 yards of rushing and picked off Upper Sandusky three times in a 63-19 thrashing of the Rams in the opening round of Division IV football playoffs at Jack Ryan Field on Friday night.
"I can't talk that fast. It's like watching Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. It really is," Upper Sandusky coach Jake Moyer said. "They have great team speed, not just their skill kids but their line is pretty fast as well. It makes it really tough."
Calhoun had 207 yards rushing and two scores. Woodley had 113 yards rushing, three scores and an interception and Scott had 60 yards rushing, 55 receiving, a touchdown and an interception.
"We know that speed kills and it was very evident. That's what separates the good teams from the really, truly great teams, and we saw that very vividly here," Moyer said. "Someone asked how I duplicate that in practice. I said we watch the video and turn it to fast forward. That's the only way to do that. We saw that their skill kids and their speed kids just made a huge difference."
Calhoun said it's not just the speed.
"The offensive line did a great job blocking. They might not be the biggest guys in Ohio but they work the hardest," Calhoun said. "It feels great to keep moving on to achieve our goal of a state championship."
Hartley never punted, recovered two onside kicks and, all total, forced four turnovers in a game that was out of reach by halftime when the Hawks (11-0) lead 34-0. It was 56-0 after three quarters before Upper Sandusky (7-4) finally cracked the goose egg on the scoreboard.
"They had a nice game plan. I thought they executed well. I thought defensively, they had a really nice game plan. You could tell they had read things pretty well. They had a great week of preparation for this game tonight," Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. "But you want to execute better. I don't think we've been happy once this year. I don't think we're going to be happy. I think we feel we know how good we can be and it's going to be exciting getting there."
Woodley scored Hartley's two first quarter touchdowns on runs of 1 and 20 yards. Calhoun had the next two on scampers of 53 and 21 yards and Jacob Matuska scored the final one of the half on a 5-yard pass from Jared Brandewie. Woodley, Calhoun and Matuska are all headed to play college football next season at Toledo, Marist and Notre Dame, respectively.
"This is how we've been all year. We've had a pretty strong running game and we're always striving for balance," Burchfield said. "We have really good players. It would be condescending to say we don't, if we say it's something different than the players. We have really good players. I'm really proud and I think the players get utilized and work together and are unselfish. We have all those good ingredients."
Three more scores in the third quarter from Woodley (7-yard run), Sam Mackowiak (8-yard run) and Scott (24-yard run) put the game at 56-0 before heading to the final 12 minutes.
When Hartley subbed in their second string is when Upper Sandusky was able to finish drives with points.
Will Adelsperger caught an 8-yard pass from Tylor Pritchard for the Rams' first score with 10:23 to go in the game. Adelsperger scored again on a 7-yard plunge but the kick was blocked, leaving it 56-13. After another Hartley score, this time on a 1-yard run from Cavell Bennett, Upper Sandusky mounted one last scoring drive in the final 2:21.
In nine plays, the Rams drove 65 yards. Hartley called a timeout with 4.1 seconds to go in the game with Upper Sandusky on the Hawks 4. But it didn't help as Pritchard plunged in for the score as time expired.
The final score put Upper Sandusky in unique territory as it was the first time any team had scored three touchdowns on Hartley all year.
"We told the kids we were going to fight to the very end. We're not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting and we did," Moyer said. "They fought hard and they did the best they could under the circumstances and we go from here."
Pritchard was bottled up most of the night on the ground, being held to 72 yards on 22 carries, but he still threw for 129 yards on 10 of 25 passing. Adelsperger had just two carries for 13 yards in the first half before finishing the night with 79 yards rushing.
The Rams as a team were held to 80 yards in the first half before adding another 204 in the second half.
Comparatively, the Hawks had 357 yards of offense in the first half, including 294 on the ground. They finished with 562 yards of total offense.
The Hawks move on to face North Union, 40-21 winners over Galion next Friday at a yet to be determined location.
Meanwhile, Upper Sandusky goes into the offseason with the 2013 bar already established.
"We're setting the bar high. Nobody is getting off easy. This is where we want to be. This is where we want to end up," Moyer said of Hartley's program. "I'm going to demand more in the weight room. I have to. That's my job. And my job is to lead and their job is to follow. Those that decide that they don't want to, can go do something else."
Moyer said hard work will help them achieve the heights they've already set for themselves.
"I'm going to be tough on them this winter. They better show up to lift because if they want to reach their goals, it's going to take effort," Moyer said. "That's where we're going. We're going up."