PLYMOUTH – A week of emotion ended with an emotional win for Plymouth’s Rockies as they game away with a 33-16 victory over Wawasee.
“It’s a bigger win than anybody will ever know,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “We have a little history with Wawasee but it was a very clean game. I take my hat off to them they came over here and played very hard. We had a lot of emotion this week. We had a funeral on Tuesday and it’s a year ago that David (Bacon) passed away, and I know our kids were thinking about that all week. I know our staff was thinking about that all week. I know our parents and supporters were thinking about that.
“You never know what a kid is thinking. For them to play as hard as they did I’m really proud of them.”
It was Wawasee that would get out of the gate quickly taking advantage of a Plymouth fumble to punch in a first quarter score and take the momentum, but a huge 68 yard touchdown run by Colten Schuler and an even bigger 30 yard fumble recovery for a score from Caleb Koss gave the Rockies a lead that they would never relinquish.
Not that there weren’t moments. Warrior quarterback Tyler Smith showed his resolve bringing Wawasee within three with a 37 yard touchdown pass to Jacob Hand. But Dylan Johnson would come on and have an oustanding second half at quarterback as the Rockies put it away.
“I’m proud of the kid,” said Barron of his senior quarterback. “Cole (Filson) has been getting most of the snaps this week, we went with an older kid he made a great pass to Benji (Nixon). That was a big play and he ran the ball very hard and took care of it and that’s what we need to have.”
Johnson would run for 53 yards and a score in the second half, and his only pass completion – a 27 yard strike on third and long – would keep the Rockies first drive of the second half alive and set the tone for the win.
Meanwhile the Rockie defense was stifling one of the NLC’s most successful offenses.
“That was a prolific offense that we just beat,” said Barron. “They threw the ball over our head three times, but I thought our corners battled all night and our safeties are really good (Jeremy) Drudge and (Colten) Schuler. Our defense is pretty good. They had a sound game plan and they got after them. That quarterback (Tyler Smith) is a tough runner and we just kept everything in front of us.
“We were going to be okay with their fullback (Noah Wadkins) getting yardage, we were hoping to frustrate their running game with the quarterback,” said Barron. “To some extent we did that. He has had some really prolific numbers and impressive games and we wanted to limit him as much as we could. We knew we’d give up the fullback and that we had to rally to the pitch but we wanted to take him a little bit out of the game. We did that a lot of the ball game.
“He’s a big kid who can run the football, he can run you over. He’s a tremendous player.”
Smith was still able to run for 86 yards on the night and throw for 96 and a score but those numbers were considerably lower than the ones he’s put up over most of the year. Meanwhile Schuler was having one of his better offensive nights for the Rockies with 130 yards and a pair of scores.
“We ran some power football tonight,” said Barron. “Our offensive line got after it up front. I’m not sure they (Wawasee) thought we were that physical on film.”
The Rockies move to 4-2 on the year with a key game at Concord next week.
Score by Quarters
Plymouth 16 0 7 10 – 33
Wawasee 7 6 3 0 – 16
W – Micahel Katzer 1 Yd Run (Ryan Edington Kick)
P – Colten Schuler 68 Yd Run (Cole Filson Run For Two-Point Conversion)
P – Caleb Koss 30 Yd Fumble Return (Colten Schuler Run For Two-Point Conversion)
W – Jacob Hand 36 Yd Pass FromTyler Smith (Ryan Edington Kick No Good)
P – Dylan Johnson 1 Yd Run (Jeremy Drudge Kick)
W – Braydon Johnson 23 Yd FG
P – Jeremy Drudge 23 Yd FG
P – Colten Schuler 15 Yd Run (Jeremy Drudge Kick)
Rushing – (Plymouth 42-240) Schuler 12-130, 2TD’s, Johnson 12-53 TD, B. Nixon 14-49, McMillen 3-8, Filson 1-4, N. Nixon 1- -4. (Wawasee 43-210) Smith 24-86, Wadkins 12-66, Mendoza 2-29, Katzer 6-27, Kuhn 1-14, Vanlue 1-1.
Passing – Johnson 1-4, 27, Filson 1-4, 4, B. Nixon 0-1 INT, Smith 6-22, 96 TD.
Receiving – B. Nixon 1-27, Hand 3-74 TD.
Tackles – Winkle 10, sack.