YORK TWP. — Once the 57-car freight train known as Cloverleaf’s football team got rolling down the tracks, not even a head-on collision was going to stop it.
Buckeye proved to be little more than Bucks frozen in that train’s headlight as the Colts rolled to an impressive 32-0 non-league victory Friday in both teams’ season opener at Edwin Steingass Field.
Cloverleaf scored 29 points in the final 24:04, allowed just 34 yards total offense and held Buckeye without a first down for nearly 28 minutes.
Dominating may be too weak of a word.
“Our goal was to come out and handle each week like every other week, play our game and take care of business,” Colts middle linebacker Cameron O’Rourke said.
That was accomplished slowly but surely thanks to a punishing effort from the Cloverleaf lines, which wore Buckeye down so badly the Bucks were without three offensive linemen (Colton Theus, Mike Winans and Tyler Carrow) and three defensive backs (Chad Gatt, Kyle Gatt and Austin Friel) at one point.
Running predominately left behind 6-foot-3, 290-pound roadgrader Garrett Laux, the Colts piled up 346 yards total offense, with backup running back Trevor Morrison (20 carries, 111 yards, TD) and quarterback Sean Mohney (9-of-20, 147 yards, 2 TDs) the main beneficiaries.
“We’re a big, physical group and we knew that we could run the ball, so we just had to get off the line and get our blocking as-signments down,” Laux said. “They like to blitz, so we just had to pick up the blitzes. Once we got the blitzes picked up, we were off the races.”
The only racing the Colts’ defense was doing was chasing down Buckeye ballcarriers with stunning accuracy.
Led by consistent penetration from defensive tackles Kyle Jenkin and Robert Terhorst and linebacker O’Rourke, Cloverleaf starters held Buckeye to minus-5 yards rushing in the second half. Safety Derek Daubenmire took care of the rest with two interceptions of Friel that led to the first nine points.
“Coach (Doug Haas) is always telling us to play smart and play hard,” Jenkin said. “We have better conditioning and everything than a lot of teams.”
For Buckeye, it was a night to forget. Friel (4-of-9, 14 yards, 2 int.) was knocked out of the game with a right shoulder injury after Jenkin and O’Rourke smothered him for a safety late in the third quarter. Already without Chad Gatt (hamstring) at that point, coach Billy Burke was forced to use third-string punter Billy Doerge.
The only positives were holding Cloverleaf to three points until Mohney hit Biegel for a 48-yard strike four seconds before halftime and Zach Maxworthy racking up two tackles for loss.
Suffice to say, Friday pushed the limits of the worst-case scenario for a team that has just over 20 players from grades 10-12.
“The major difference is what it has been for the last several years,” Burke said. “We have few numbers and we can’t handle the war of attrition sometimes.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.