Huron grinds out win against SMCC at sloppy Strobel

The Tigers didn't get the chance to play Huron football because of a swirling wind and wet weather.
AnthonyMoujaes
Oct 2, 2010

The Tigers didn't get the chance to play Huron football because of a swirling wind and wet weather.

They had to rely on their ground game instead against a scrappy St. Mary Central Catholic team looking for its first Sandusky Bay Conference win since 2008.

Justin Hicks scored the winning touchdown with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter Saturday, and Huron treaded through the mud by converting two turnovers into touchdowns on a sloppy Strobel Field.

When was the last time Huron threw one pass in a game and had zero yards through the air?

And still the Tigers (4-2, 2-1) managed a 15th straight win against St. Mary CC (1-5, 0-3), this one a nail-biting 12-7 win.

"We don't play the kind of offense that makes it easy to grind it out," Huron coach Tony Legando said. "You have to have patience and make the fewest mistakes."

Indeed, Huron made fewer mistakes, forcing the Panthers into three turnovers -- the last of which set up Hicks' game winning scamper from 15 yards around the right end.

Hicks, a senior who came into the game with 384 yards on 76 carries, had 22 carries Saturday for 74 yards. On the opening play of the game, Hicks put the ball on the ground, which the Tigers recovered.

The Panthers forced a three-and-out and promptly found the end zone with -- of all things -- a TD pass.

Pat Sennish dropped back on the second play of the series and found an open Cameron Weiss, who caught the pass and ran untouchedfor a 60-yard score that put SMCC ahead, 7-0.

"I think we caught them a little bit by surprise," SMCC coach Ryan Wikel said. "We script the first 10 plays of the game, and rain or shine, that's we're working all week.

"It was nice to see Cameron Weiss get into the end zone. It took him a little bit to get there -- I was joking with him a bit when he came off the field."

Legando said he cautioned his team that the mud -- something he thinks can be the most difficult element in which to play -- would create fumbles.

"I don't know if St. Mary was battling the elements more than they were Huron, and I don't know that we were battling the elements more than St. Mary," he said.

Both teams combined for seven fumbles -- three of them ended up in the opponents arms -- 10 first downs and 167 total yards.

"It's been a while since we beat Huron," Wikel said. "I feel for the kids They were 3 minutes and 20 seconds away... The team that does the little things usually wins.

"But that doesn't take away from our effort -- the grit that was missing here for a while."

St. Mary CC last beat Huron on Oct. 6, 1995, a 16-13 win in Week 6. The Panthers finished 5-5, and Huron was 2-8 -- the only losing season for Legando.

"They really played hard and used their running backs," Legando said. "That's a coaching staff that has figured some things out. Tonight shows they've got a good foundation."

Wikel said he saw flashes of positive play from his defense, and credited coordinator Eric Talbot for having the defense ready and limiting the Tigers to four first downs.

"I'm proud of our kids. We talk about getting the kids to lay it on the field for four quarters," Wikel said. "It's really been a while since we've been able to do that."

Wet weather posed a problem on SMCC's third drive, with two bobbled snaps on two straight plays netting a 13-yard loss for Sennish. On fourth-and-23 from his own 15, Weiss couldn't handle the snap on the punt, collected the ball and was brought down at the 4 for a loss of 12.

Brian Bollenbacher, who carried 11 times for 20 yards, ran for gains of three and one, the latter good for a touchdown. Anthony Lane's PAT kick was low, however, and left the Panthers with the lead, 7-6.

SMCC finished with minus-5 yards on the ground, and running backs Brandon Green and Wyatt Dye had 11 and 26 yards.

"Our defense got toughed and we pushed them back a bit," Legando said. "A game like this comes down to field position and patience."

 

Huron 0 6 0 6 -- 12

SMCC 7 0 0 0 -- 7

S: Weiss 60 pass from P. Sennish (E. Sennish kick)

H: Bollenbacher 1 run (kick failed)

H: Hicks 15 run (2-pt run failed)

TEAM STATS

H SMCC

First downs 4 6

Rushes-Yards 37-107 33-(-5)

Comp-Att-Int 0-1-0 4-7-0

Passing Yards 0 65

Penalties-Yards 6-65 2-20

Fumbles-Lost 3-1 4-2

RUSHING

Huron -- Hicks 22-74; Bollenbacher 11-20; Olds 4-13; SMCC -- Green 10-11; Dye 14-26; P. Sennish 8-(-30); Weiss 1-(-12)

PASSING

Huron -- Bollenbacher 0-1-0-0; SMCC -- Sennish 4-7-65-1

RECEIVING

Huron -- none; SMCC -- Weiss 1-60; E. Sennish 1-(-1), Guerra 105, Kowalski 1-1