By Gary Danforth
Granville football coach Mario Torres may have best summed up his team’s season opener at Stillwater on Sept. 6 when he said, “we got struck early and weren’t able to get back. Stillwater is a very good football team. We did see some good things. I was impressed with our effort. We have to come back and get ready for Corinth.”
During the game, Granville got a heavy dose of bullish 5’10” Stillwater running back Hunter Lape.
Stillwater took the opening kickoff and began feeding Lape the ball, running four consecutive times to move the ball to the Horde 40 yard line. Lape’s two yard score with 5:09 left in period one gave Stillwater a 6-0 advantage. Stillwater kicker Dan Gazzella split the uprights after the Warriors ran 13 plays in the 6-yard drive.
On the Horde’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback hit senior wideout Jake Williams with a pass along the right sideline and he scooted all the way to the Warrior 20. However, the drive bogged down and Stillwater took over at its own 15-yard line.
Stillwater and Lape went to work again. Lape ran the ball four more times bringing the ball to the Granville 28-yard line. Warrior quarterback Schyler Radliff rolled out to his right, cut back against the grain, and sprinted into the end zone for a 13-0 Stillwater lead. Gazzelli booted the PAT as SCS padded its lead to 14-0 with 8:50 left in period two. The 83-yard drive took seven running plays.
A swarming Warrior defense stopped a Horde drive with Stillwater taking over at the Horde 40-yard line. Lape and Radliff took turns running the ball against the Granville defense. Lape blasted into the end zone from a yard out on his third consecutive run with 1:47 left in the half. Gazzelli booted the PAT for a 21-0 Warrior lead. The 40-yard drive was covered in seven running plays.
On its next scoring drive, Lape took the handoff 12 out of 13 times for Stillwater, closing out a 14-play, 73-yard TD drive with a two-yard score. Lape’s score put the Warriors ahead 27-0 with 2:13 left in the quarter. Gazzella was tackled on the try attempt.
Although Stillwater had a 27-0 lead, the Granville kids didn’t quit. They proceeded to drive the ball from their own 20-yard line to the Warrior 7 yard line. A fourth and goal pass completion to Jacob Halterman came up short of the goal line. Wideout Ronnie Taylor hauled in three passes and Evan Hoagland had a nifty 31-yard scamper and completed five passes on an impressive drive.
Granville stopped a Stillwater drive and took over at midfield, going 50 yards in four plays for a score. Taylor hauled in a 15- yard pass and Hoagland caught two passes, the second for a 10-yard score Hoagland scored on a conversion run for a 27-8 final score.
Stillwater Coach Vince Barber was pleased with his team’s win. “We committed only two penalties and made first downs and stops when we had too. The strength of our team is our offensive line. I think all the work we did in the preseason paid off tonight. That Hoagland boy is a good back. I don’t think tonight was an indication of how good of a team Granville is.”
After the game Hoagland said,” when 11 guys put their heads together we can play. It’s a team game and every guy has to play together.”
About Corinth, Torres said, “I expect Corinth to spread us out. Corinth runs the flex offense. They have a new quarterback.”
Granville hosts the Tomahawks at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.