Gremlins grind one out on Saint Marys
KARNS CITY — After controlling play for the better part of three quarters, Karns City was forced to go into self-defense mode.
And defended its turf.
Micah Rupp made a critical stop on a fourth-down play with 4:03 remaining and Braden Slater intercepted a pass near midfield on the game’s final as the Gremlins held on to defeat Saint Marys, 14-6, in high school football Friday night at Diehl Stadium.
Karns City (2-2) continues to play with quarterback Eric Booher wearing a cast on his right wrist, virtually negating the team’s passing game.
“We know we just have to grind it out right now,” KC coach Joe Sherwin said. “It was going to take a couple of games for our new offensive line to come together, but they’re playing pretty well right now.”
The Gremlins attempted only one pass all night — and that was not by Booher. The pass didn’t count, either, as a would-be 16-yard aerial from Cooper Coyle to Nate Garing on third down that would have produced a first down midway through the fourth quarter was negated by an illegal blocking penalty.
KC took a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, rushing for 144 yards on 30 attempts. Booher’s 4-yard run capped a 50-yard drive in the first quarter and Levi Hawk’s 9-yard scamper capped an 89-yard drive that ate 7:10 off the clock in the second.
The latter score was aided by a running-into-the-kicker penalty on the Flying Dutch (3-1) that handed the Gremlins a first down.
“Too many mistakes in the first half,” Saint Marys coach Chris Dworek said. “We talked all week about how we had to match their physicality. We didn’t do that in the first half. We did a better job of matching it in the second half.
“We just got started too late.”
The Dutch survived a Nate Garing interception on the first offensive play of the game, giving KC possession inside the Saint Marys 30-yard line. On fourth down, Coyle was nailed for a 2-yard loss by Mason Sheeley and Eli Rippey.
The Gremlins took the second-half kickoff and marched 45 yards in 14 plays, eating 7:21 off the clock. But Nathan Hess was stopped for a yard loss on fourth down from the Saint Marys 1-yard line.
“I thought about trying for the field goal there, but I just decided to go for it,” Sherwin said.
Saint Marys, limited to 64 yards offensively in the first half. finally got on the board with 6:53 left in the game. A 67-yard drive ended with Charlie Coudriet’s 6-yard touchdown toss to Carter Chadsey. The conversion pass failed.
Logan Mosier caught a 42-yard bomb from Coudriet to highlight the drive.
“We finally hit some plays in the passing game,” Dworek said.
After the aforementioned Coyle pass was foiled by the penalty, Karns City had to punt with 4:49 left. Matt Davis’ 13-yard punt return gave the Dutch a first down at the Gremlins’ 23.
On fourth-and-3 from the 16, Coudriet threw a flare pass to running back Justin Dornisch behind the line of scrimmage. Dornisch broke two tackles as he headed for the left sideline, but was stopped by Rupp two yards shy of the sticks.
“I thought we might have gotten that one, but I was looking from a bad angle,” Dworek said. “Their kid came up and made a nice play.”
“Micah’s not having the impact year he was hoping to have on offense, but he made a huge play there,” Sherwin said.
By the time the Dutch got the ball back, only 28 seconds remained and they were deep in their own territory. That’s when Slater’s interception ended things.
“We just have to keep grinding, keep plugging,” two-way KC lineman James Jones said. “That’s where we’re at right now. Defensively, we need to plug the gaps.
“This was a big win, a conference win. We need to keep going from here.”
Karns City rushed for 245 yards on 55 carries. Hawk ran for 94 yards, Coyle 58 and Hess 54. Coudriet threw for 158 yards for Saint Marys, 122 in the second half.
Saint Marys 0 0 0 6 — 6
Karns City 7 7 0 0 — 14
KC — Eric Booher 4 run (Colson Ritzert kick), 3:39
KC — Levi Hawk 9 run (Ritzert kick), :53
SM — Carter Chadsey 6 pass from Charlie Coudriet (pass failed), 6:53
Rushing: Saint Marys, Charlie Coudriet 6-1, Justin Dornisch 5-19, Matt Davis 5-14. Karns City, Eric Booher 5-14, Cooper Coyle 12-58, Levi Hawk 16-94, Nate Garing 5-14, Nathan Hess 15-54, Braden Slater 6-10, Micah Rupp 1-1.
Passing: Saint Marys, Charlie Coudriet 11-22-158-2. Karns City, Eric Booher 0-0-0-0.
Receiving: Saint Marys, Brayden Asti 1-11. Carter Chadsey 2-33, Logan Mosier 4-66, Mason Sheeley 2-42, Justin Dornisch 1-1, Matt Davis 1-21.