Warriors trounce TC
ONTARIO – According to first-year Ontario coach Chris Hawkins, the Warriors have an explosive passing game. However, nobody saw it Friday night as they ran up the middle, outside and through Columbian in a Northern Ohio League opener for both squads.
As a result, the Warriors ran the ball 57 times for 324 yards to compile 22 first downs, compared to just seven for TC in a 40-14 victory.
Most of the damage on the ground was caused by running backs Will Taylor (24 carries, 120 yards), Hunter Plew (14 carries, 64 yards) and quarterback Trevian Jordan (15 carries, 108 yards).
“Hunter is more of a scatback, but he didn’t do much of that tonight because he was cramping, but Trevian is learning the offense and keeps getting better,” Hawkins said. “This is his first year as a quarterback and a new system. I like his patience sometimes, but other times he needs to stick his foot in the ground and use his 4.4 speed and that’s what we are working on with him.
“We have a great pass game, we just didn’t have to use it. When you run the ball like we did tonight, we didn’t have to use it. When our line is playing really well up there and our guys are just chugging along, we didn’t need it. So I told them to keep working on the passing game because we haven’t unleashed it yet.”
Ontario (2-2, 1-0 NOL) won the game in the trenches and took Columbian’s run game out of the equation.
“They dominated up front, no doubt about it,” TC coach Judd Lutz said. “They only had five guys in the box and we couldn’t block them at all, which neutralized our run game. Then they just brought some pressure and there some guys we couldn’t pick up.
“We saw it during the week, but for some reason, the kids didn’t respond tonight, so we have to get back at it and get better and get back to work Monday.”
The dominance started right away as Ontario took its first possession 65 yards on 16 plays for a score. Jordan ran in a 2-yard score up the middle.
However, Columbian (1-3, 0-1) did respond as quarterback Todd Simonds found Blake Steinmetz over the middle on a third-and-12 for a 41-yard pickup and then followed that up with a 13-yard strike to Jared Akers to tie the game at 7 at the end of the first quarter.
Ontario still controlled the game and tempo as Taylor bulldozed his way into the end zone from 3 yards out, and then Jordan scampered to the right and blazed his way down the sideline for a 16-yard rushing touchdown to give the Warriors a 20-7 halftime advantage.
“The quarterback had all day to do whatever he wanted to do back there,” Lutz said. “Each running back was the same way. They could just bounce around and just pick the hole because we weren’t really doing anything defensively to stop them.
“They dominated on both sides of the trenches and we need to toughen up real quick and figure out a way to turn this around.”
The Warriors continued to pound the ball out of halftime as Plew capped a 10-play drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone.
TC did get some momentum back late in the third quarter as Caden Blust spun his way into the end zone for an 11-yard score to cut the lead to 27-14 heading into the fourth.
But like they did most of the night, the Warriors remained in control as Jordan dropped back and threw a bullet to Quan Jackson up the seam for a 31-yard score. Jackson then took a jet sweep around the right edge to get into the end zone from 6 yards out to put a cap on the scoring.
“The first two weeks were so frustrating because we had some good competition, but I knew we were nowhere where we needed to be,” Hawkins said. “We just kept plunking and plunking and I just told our kids, ‘did we play well? Absolutely. But championship teams and teams that are vying for championships are never satisfied. Will we be proud of the win and effort, absolutely.’ We will go back and see a bunch of mistakes we have to get corrected to take step two.”
Simonds was 9 of 16 for 138 yards passing and added 42 yards on the ground for the Tornadoes. Akers finished with five catches for 70 yards.
“We came out (the second half) with some energy and we got after them at halftime and made some adjustments,” Lutz said. “The fight is there. There is some bite in the dog, but we have some dogs that are a little small and their bite’s not real big right now, so we have to do something else so we’ll see.”