LORAIN â€” Cloverleafâ€™s football team used a dominating running attack to win its first two games.
That running game wasnâ€™t there for the Colts on Friday in their non-league game against Lorain Southview, but the defense did more than pick up the slack leading Cloverleaf to a 31-7 win at George Daniel Field.
Cloverleaf (3-0) came into the game averaging 344.5 yards per game on the ground and was limited to just 108 in the win.
â€œI think (Southview) did a good job getting their up-front guys ready to play,â€ Cloverleaf coach Kevin Gault said. â€œThey did a great job defending and scheming against the things we do.â€
Leading rusher Cody Roberts, who had a team-best 227 yards rushing, totaled minus-6 yards for the game, but did score a pair of touchdowns.
The Colt air game had just as much difficulty getting things going as Roberts completed just two passes â€” one a 15 yard touchdown pass to Kyle Juszczyk in the first quarter.
The Colt â€œDâ€ forced four turnovers that led directly to 24 points in a game that was marred by sloppy play and ineffective offenses.
â€œThe defense came out here ready to play,â€ Gault said. â€œI was real impressed with them. I think they came out here and played real hard.â€
Junior defensive back Russ Piper was in the thick of things for the Colts with a pair of interceptions. The first was returned 33 yards for the Colts second touchdown of the game and staked his team to a 14-0 lead.
â€œI was just reading the keys,â€ Piper said. â€œThe coaching staff did a good job telling us where to be and thatâ€™s what put me in the position to make the play.â€
After a fumble on the Saints (0-3) next possession first-year kicker Dustin Connor booted a 42-yard field goal to send the Colts into the locker room up 17-0.
â€œI was feeling pretty confident â€” not cocky,â€ Connor said. â€œI was confident I had a great line and good hold. I have confidence in them and it gives me the confidence.â€
The kick was the fourth longest in school history, behind just three kicks by Ross Brunello (1989).
His next pick came when a bad snap by Southview went of the hands of punter Joshua Gonzales who scooped up the ball and tried in vain to escape the Colts rush.
As a last ditch effort Gonzales tried to throw the ball away but it landed in the hands of Piper.
Roberts capped of the ensuing three-play drive with a 1-yard plunge to put the Colts up 24-0.
Justin Marrs (2 sacks) led a stingy front line for the Colts, limiting the Saints to 128 yards (108 rushing) â€” 63 of which came on Southviewâ€™s lone scoring drive.
â€œWe just worked hard in practice at getting everything done,â€ Marrs said. â€œMake sure everyone plays their keys and gets where they are supposed to be.â€
Fellow linemates Paul Lenos (Â½-sack) and Calvin Pack each pounced on a Saints fumble.
The Colts 3-0 start is the best since 2003 when they got off to a 4-1 start.
â€œIt is important to get off to a 3-0 start when you play in this league,â€ Gault said. â€œWeâ€™re going to have to button it up and get ready to play (next week against Copley).â€