Tigers overwhelm Eagles

ATTICA – Colonel Crawford brought the top rusher in the Northern 10 Conference while Seneca East brought the top passer.

And a whole lot more.

The Tigers were at their versatile best while piling up 476 yards in total offense and sending five different players into the end zone on the way to a 42-28 homecoming win here Friday night.

The win keeps 5-0 Seneca East in a first-place tie with Wynford at 4-0 in conference play while the Eagles fall to 3-2, the two losses coming in back-to-back meetings with the leaders.

“This win’s a little bit bigger because that’s a team we haven’t beaten in a while,” Tiger coach Ed Phillips said of the Eagles, who romped 42-18 over his club last year.

“I think when people looked at Seneca East teams in the past, they’ve said, ‘They’re good and they can play in space. But can they play a physical football game?” Phillips said. “Well, our defense went out and didn’t let them in the end zone in the second half. We held them to a field goal and that’s an outstanding second-half football team.

“Every game I watched them play, they outplayed the opponent in the second half,” he said. “Not tonight.”

The first half suggested this would be a last-team-with-the-ball-wins showdown.

Each team scored twice in the first period.

Colonel Crawford’s Blake Treisch, who already had 690 yards through the first four games, was at his best once again in gaining 250 yards on 32 carries in this one.

He had a touchdown run of 20 yards and Trevor Shawber (117 yards, 20 carries) added a 4-yard smash.

Yet the Eagles trailed 15-12 at the first stop as top passer Brennan Martin hit Bo Smith for a 19-yard TD and ran in from the 1. The scoring difference came when Smith recovered from mishandling the PAT snap and alertly passed to Dylan Cornwell for two points. Tyler Turek also had a successful kick.

It was more of the same early in the second period as Treisch raced 24 yards on the second play of the quarter but the Tigers’ Danny Bowerman countered with a 6-yard run for a 21-19 edge.

Seneca East finally managed a stop on the next series but was unable to advance and the Eagles had one last shot from the Tiger 36 with 1:55 to go.

They didn’t waste it as Hayden Bute tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to Kaleb Landin, who made a diving one-handed grab in the end zone for a 25-21 advantage.

That could have been a deflater for the Tigers, but it wasn’t.

Instead, Seneca East opened the second half with 50-yard drive on five running plays, the score coming on Brock Martin’s 1-yard slam to regain the lead at 28-25.

“That first drive of the second half, you talk about an answer,” Phillips said. “It’s a different game if we don’t get that. But our kids are special and when it’s hard and it’s tough, they stick together.

“One other thing, our fans were the best group of fans and our sideline was the best sideline I’ve ever seen in a high school football game,” he said. “That really made a difference for us.”

Yet another difference-maker was the Tiger defense, which allowed a game-tying field goal of 23 yards by Spencer Mutchler, but blanked the usually high-scoring Eagles over the game’s final 19:15

In a matter of three plays after Mutchler’s boot, Seneca East was on top for good. Brock Martin broke off a 23-yard run to set up Brennan Martin’s 38-yard TD pass to Blaine Swartzmiller down the left sideline for a 35-28 lead with 6:23 to go in the third period.

“That hurt,” Colonel Crawford coach Ryan Teglovic said. “Spencer did a nice job to get us three points there and then boom, boom, boom. Their offense hurt us tonight. There’s no other way to put it.

“They’ve got a lot of athletes over there and I thought they were the more physical team,” he said. “They were the better team tonight. They just were. They outcoached us and they outplayed us in all aspects of the game.”

Brennan Martin hit 16-of-25 passes for 234 yards to push his season passing yardage total to 964 yards at the midway point of the season.

The defense came into play when Collan Martin picked off a Bute pass and though the Tigers didn’t score off it, the momentum had shifted.

“We switched to an even front in the beginning of the second quarter and it was better for us than the odd front,” Phillips said. “It was a pretty simple adjustment, really. And once we get the momentum going our way, we’re a pretty good football team.”

Seneca East put the game away with a 75-yard drive capped by Bowerman’s 7-yard run with 5:34 to play.

“There was a period there in the third and fourth quarters where we were just running the heck out of the football,” Phillips said. “We like to throw, but it was like, ‘Wow, we’re dominating the line of scrimmage against Colonel Crawford, who is usually pretty good up front. That was impressive.”