Mars sophomore running back Josh Schultheis breaks away from the Blackhawk defense for a touchdown during the Planets’ 45-21 win over the Cougars in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs at the Mars Athletic Complex Friday night. Schultheis finished with 232 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
JUSTIN GUIDO/CRANBERRY EAGLE
ADAMS TWP — Josh Schultheis rushed for 232 yards and scored four touchdowns as the Mars football team rolled over Blackhawk 45-21 in the first round of the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs at the Mars Athletic Complex Friday night. Mars (10-1) built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Alex Smith returned the opening kickoff 66 yards to the Blackhawk 13. Two plays later, Schultheis slashed into the end zone from the 7. On the Planets’ next possession, quarterback Owen Nearhoof scooped up a Schultheis fumble for a 25-yard TD scampber and Schultheis capped the first-quarter scoring a possession later with a 25-yard run. The Planets went up 28-0 late in the first half on a 43-yard run by Schultheis. Blackhawk (3-7), though, made things interesting as Andrew Podbielski caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Chandler Kincade with 35 seconds remaining in the second quarter to cut the lead to 28-7 at the half. The Cougars started the opening drive of the second half at their own 1, but marched 99 yards, capped by a 2-yard run by Kincade to trim Mars’ lead to 28-14. The Planets, though, scored the next 17 points to put the game away. Mars will play West Mifflin, a 28-14 winner over Knoch, in the second round of the playoffs next week.