For nearly 20 years, the St. Paul Flyers football program has gained a reputation for lighting up the scoreboard en route to victory after victory.
In a Firelands Conference game against South Central Saturday night at Warren Whitney Field, the Flyers (6-0, 3-0) still lit up the scoreboard with eight touchdowns — but held the Trojans to no first downs and just 31 yards of offense in a 55-0 win.
“First, you have to compliment our defensive staff for an excellent game plan,” St. Paul head coach John Livengood said. “Secondly, the kids on defense played hard the entire four quarters and executed well. They did a nice job.”
It was was the 23rd consecutive regular season win for St. Paul, the 18th straight FC win and the 15th straight win at home.
Flyer quarterback Eric Schwieterman was back starting under center for the first time at home this season after recovering from a broken thumb sustained Aug. 10, and it took him no time to find his favorite target Dan Tracht on a 55-yard touchdown on the game’s first play. Jim Roth added the first of seven extra points for a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing St. Paul possession, behind a lead block from Schwieterman on a sweep to the right side, Brian Griffin found a seam for a 61-yard touchdown run – his 14th rushing touchdown of the season.
The kick failed, but it was 13-0 and far from over as senior Matt Wilde returned the next two South Central punts for touchdowns. The first score covered 43 yards while the second went for 55, which made it 27-0 with 11:47 left in the second quarter.
A 10-play, 63-yard scoring drive then followed for the Flyers, who finished with 496 yards of offense. The drive was capped on a nine-yard run by Zach Service, who added a four-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession to give the Flyers a 41-0 halftime lead.
“All around it was a good game, our special teams in particular,” Livengood said. “Obviously Justin had the two big returns, but he went untouched too so there was great blocking out there. Offensively, I thought we executed pretty well. Eric looked real sharp and it was nice to see Dan Tracht back out there at receiver. You can see the effect he can have on the game.”
Tracht filled in for Schwieterman in the first five games at quarterback.
After a 45-yard run by Service early in the third quarter, Tracht – who played the series at quarterback – finished the drive with a nine-yard run that made it 48-0.
The Flyers final score came with 3:45 left as Isaac Livengood ran in from four yards out to cap a 8-play, 33-yard drive that made it 55-0.
South Central head coach Jeff Cook was gracious afterwards, knowing the score could have been much worse. St. Paul has outscored the Trojans 133-6 in the last two meetings and have won 19 straight games in the series.
“John was humane with how he handled us tonight, and handled is a great way to phrase that,” Cook said. “They pretty much did what they wanted to do with their defense. At times our defense stood up to them, but they made big plays early on to take us out of contention.”
Not everything went right for St. Paul, as a potential ninth touchdown was nullified on a fumble into the end zone that went for a touchback.
“I’m not real thrilled about that, and we have to get better in that area,” Livengood said. “Ball security is still something we have to improve on.”
Griffin paced a rushing attack that finished with 365 yards as he ran for 132 yards on nine attempts – all in the first half. Service finished with 78 yards on eight attempts while Schwieterman completed 6-of-8 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown while running for 25 yards on two attempts. Tracht finished with four catches for 110 yards.
St. Paul hosts Western Reserve (4-2, 2-1) next Saturday.