PLYMOUTH – If it wasn’t turning the corner it was certainly a step in the right direction as Plymouth’s Rockies got in the win column for the first time this season with a 37-13 victory over Wawasee.
“I’m so happy for our kids and the coaches and our parents for just hanging in there,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “It’s been rough on the scoreboard for us. It hasn’t been negative. I haven’t seen our kids pout. I haven’t seen them be anything other than wanting to get better.”
While it was a night that the offense would finally find some confidence, it was the defense that helped them do that. Before the fans could get in their socially distanced seats and take their masks off the Rockies had their first turnover of the night.
Reggie Vasquez got through the line, ruining a Wawasee play, forcing and recovering a fumble. It set a tone for the night.
“We ran to the ball well,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron. “We caused some turnovers. When the ball was on the ground we got it. We forced some passes to be thrown not where they wanted to even though we didn’t get any interceptions.
“We’ve been really emphasizing turnovers.”
Plymouth’s offense turned the short field into quick points, and on the next possession, Daniel Bacon would wear the turnover chain grabbing a fumble of his own and once again, the offense made it pay.
While the Warriors would fight back, any positive they could gain turned negative, and the Rockies would continue to build confidence on both sides of the ball.
“Two weeks ago we told them what we were doing and they believed in it and did some really good things against a really good Mishawaka team,” said Barron. “We had a great week of practice and this is the result.”
“It helps when you have a player like (Jake) Reichard on your side,” he said.
To say the least.
Reichard ended the night with 26 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns and threw for another.
The redesigned Rockie offense would remind many “old school” fans of the single-wing, that was popular in the ’20s and ’30s and it has served the Rockies well with their current personnel.
“When you have a kid like him (Reichard) you let him do the things that God gave him the ability to do,” said Barron. “He’s a hard working kid. It doesn’t come easy. He’s the best player on the field.”
Even with that, it’s the whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts. The entire offense for Plymouth has begun to adapt to their roles.
“Getting (Colin) Mills and (Quentin) Crawford and (Adrial) Lester involved in the running game is important,” said Barron. “It’s no secret we put them back there to protect Jake a little more when he runs it but those guys have to be involved. They had some nice runs.”
“You’ve got five linemen up there doing their job,” he said. “Anytime you get holes like the ones they created with those runs up the middle, they are obviously doing their job.”
Mills in particular had several crucial runs, including a crucial third and long in the third quarter.
Plymouth took the second-half kickoff and had the worst possible outcome – a three and out – giving Wawasee a spark and a great drive that had first and goal at the three-yard line.
Four plays later the Plymouth defense handed the ball back to the offense after a huge goal-line stand.
“I’m proud of those guys,” said Barron. “We challenged the back end of our defense to be more confident. Having Masterson back there makes a difference. He’s a talker. He keeps everybody up.”
“(Lennon) Creighbaum got better tonight. (Devon) Bowering got better tonight,” said Barron. “Bacon played a tremendous game. Hooley was solid. Our front continues to do really good things.”
Plymouth goes to 1-5 with a road game at Concord on Friday. Wawasee is 2-4 and at home with Warsaw.
• PLYMOUTH 37, WAWASEE 12
Wawasee 0 0 0 12 – 12
Plymouth 14 8 8 7 – 3
P – 08:51 Jake Reichard 2 yd run (Reichard rush)
P – 03:46 Reichard 3 yd run (Reichard rush failed)
P – 01:57 Reichard 26 yd run (Reichard rush)
P – 04:40 Reichard 77 yd run (Reichard rush)
P – 11:40 Devante Garcia 34 yd pass from Reichard (Crawford, kick)
W – 07:01 Blair 4 yd run (Clevenger kick blocked)
W – 00:09 Zimmerman 12 yd run
RUSHING: Wawasee-Larson 3-29; Zimmerman 3-29; Smith 1-27; Young 13-12; Blair 1-4; Salazar 1-3; Meek 1-0; Dennis 1-minus 4. Plymouth-Reichard 26-220; Mills 10-67; Garcia 5-19; Crawford 5-16; Lester 1-1; Mccrum 2-minus 2.
PASSING: Wawasee-Young 15-26-0-196. Plymouth-Reichard 2-8-0-47.
RECEIVING: Wawasee-Salazar 4-106; Beer 4-31; Meek 3-35; Ringler 3-18; Blair 1-6. Plymouth-Garcia 1-34; Sheely 1-13.
INTERCEPTIONS: Wawasee-None. Plymouth-None.
FUMBLES: Wawasee-Young 2-2. Plymouth-None.