Truckers survive shootout against Streaks

Sandusky may have entered Friday's Northern Ohio League game at Norwalk with a 1-4 record.
Mark Hazelwood
Oct 5, 2013

But Trucker coach Chris MacFarland wasn’t hearing it.

“That’s a very good team,” MacFarland said. “They might be 1-4, but there are athletes out there who have stayed in the same offense and are getting better each week.”

After his team survived a 48-34 shootout over the Blue Streaks, there was some validity to MacFarland’s statement.

With the win, Norwalk improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the NOL, while the Streaks fell to 1-5, 1-2.

The game — and Norwalk's homecoming festivities — were delayed 18 minutes because of lightning moving through the area.

“It was nice to see our offense go out and be able to control a game,” MacFarland said after his team scored seven touchdowns and put up 354 yards of offense. “We did things when we needed to. The defense played outstanding last week (at Ontario) and it's the offense's job this week to help pick them up and hope for that one week when everything is going great.”

It took the Truckers just four plays to dent the scoreboard, as Norwalk quarterback Jordan Johnson rolled out and found Seth Staley downfield, who came back to the ball and weaved through two defenders for a 46-yard touchdown pass and catch.

The first of six Grant Hull PATs was good, and Norwalk had a 7-0 lead just 1:23 into the game.

But in a drive that set the tone for the night, Sandusky answered with a 13-play, 70-yard scoring drive that took 5:03 off the first quarter clock.

Jay Moore caught a 30-yard pass from Brady McKillips on a third-and-30, then caught a 21-yard pass on a fourth-and-5 to keep the drive alive.

Ben Fuller scored from five yards out and David Linden’s PAT made it 7-7 at the 5:32 mark of the first.

Norwalk then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Sandusky recovered at the Trucker 25-yard line.

Another fourth down conversion kept the drive alive, setting up Moore on a 6-yard TD run with 1:26 left in the quarter for a 14-7 Sandusky lead.

As was the case all night, the Trucker offense moved quickly to respond, needing just three plays to cover 45 yards. Joseph Hinckley returned the kickoff 40 yards to the Sandusky 45, then capped the drive with a 27-yard touchdown reception from Johnson with 53 seconds left in the quarter to tie it at 14.

Each team traded a possession, then Norwalk covered 53 yards in five plays, capped by Garret MacFarland’s 19-yard TD pass from Johnson with 6:13 left in the half that made it 21-14.

Sandusky moved the ball to the Norwalk 10 with inside a minute left in the half, but a holding penalty cost them a shot at tying the game as the second quarter clock ran out on them at the Norwalk 26.

After a three-and-out to begin the second half, Sandusky was forced to punt.

However, on a low snap, it was ruled the punter’s knee hit the ground, giving Norwalk the ball at the Sandusky 10.

Two plays later, Breck Turner punched in the first of four second-half TDs to give the Truckers a 27-14 lead with 9:27 left in the third quarter. But every time Sandusky looked like it had the game slipping away, the Streaks came right back.

This time it was Moore hauling in a pass from McKillips near midfield, then making two Norwalk defenders miss on tackles en route to a 49-yard touchdown catch with 6:17 left in the third.

The kick was wide left, leaving Norwalk up 27-21.

Turner carried three times for 45 yards on the ensuing Norwalk drive, the last being a 4-yard TD run with 4:59 left in the quarter to make it 34-21.

But as he’s done all season for the Streaks, Moore kept his team alive, responding this time with a 36-yard TD run up the sideline to cut the margin to 34-27 with 19 seconds left in the third.

Norwalk answered with an 8-play, 62-yard scoring drive that saw Turner bull in from a yard out to make it 41-27 with 9:43 left, but Sandusky’s Gene Porter returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to make it 41-34, keeping the wild shoot out going.

“We don’t want to look at it as playing sloppy. We're looking at it as, we played a very good team,” MacFarland said. “If we would have put the ball on the ground a lot, or had a lot of penalties, that’s sloppy to us. Playing a good athletic team, that's just how it is in high school football.”

After Norwalk ran out of downs at the Sandusky 36, the Blue Streaks took possession at their 17 with 4:51 left and a chance to tie or take the lead.

But after picking up one first down, three straight incomplete passes turned the ball back over to Norwalk with 3:47 left.

Using the short 33-yard field, Turner put the game away with a 18-yard TD run with 2:35 left.

“They were exactly what they showed on film, but our kids just have to make plays,” MacFarland said. “There were a lot of times we were there in position, but just didn't make tackles or bring the guy down. We didn’t gang tackle like we should have.

“Offensively, at the end they were bringing pressure with seven or eight guys,” MacFarland added. “But Breck does such an outstanding job of shedding tackles and protecting the football.”

Moore ran 14 times for 84 yards for Sandusky, caught seven passes for 135 yards and completed 2-of-7 passes for 74 yards.

Turner finished with 155 yards on 21 attempts, while Johnson was 6-of-11 passing for 128 yards and 3 TDs, and also added 49 yards rushing on six attempts.

Four different players caught the six passes for Norwalk, which visits Bellevue (3-3, 1-1) next week.

“Coach (Ed) Nasonti does a great job over there, those guys are coming off a state runner-up, and have a lot of experience,” MacFarland said of Bellevue. “I know it will be nice to get away from homecoming week and have no distractions, and it should be a great game next week.”

Scoring summary
Sand.    14      0       13        7 — 34
Norwalk 14      7      13      14  — 48
N — Seth Staley 46 pass from Jordan Johnson (Grant Hull kick)
S — Ben Fuller 5 run (David Linden kick)
S — Jay Moore 6 run (Linden kick)
N — Joseph Hinckley 27 pass from Johnson (Hull kick)
N — Garret MacFarland 19 pass from Johnson (Hull kick)
N — Breck Turner 10 run (pass failed)
S — Moore 49 pass from Brady McKillips (kick failed)
N — Turner 5 run (Hull kick)
S — Moore 36 run (Linden kick)
N — Turner 1 run (Hull kick)
S — Gene Porter 85 kick return (Linden kick)
N — Turner 18 run (Hull kick)