Little Giants Muscle Past Hanoverby Jocelyn Hopkinson '15 • September 14, 2013
- The North Montgomery High School Band got festivities underway with the National Anthem
- Freshman Delon Pettiford picked up a blocked punt in the endzone to open scoring.
- Panther quarterback Adam Gutermuth was under constant pressure.
- Justin Woods had a nice first-half kick return
- Sophomore Michael Putko got the start and played into the third quarter.
- Check out Houston Hodges concentration from the four-yard line to find the enzone. He did, 14-0 Little Giants!
- Gutermuth trying to escape the Little Giant pressure - again.
- Senior James Kraus with the catch.
- Quarterback Gutermuth didn't escape Nate Scola on this snap.
- Tyler Holmes on a 71-yard ran that came up just short before ....
- ... powering in seconds later for 21-0.
- Denzel Wilkins gets the first of six Wabash picks.
- Sean Hildebrand with the catch.
- Holmes with his second TD run.
- Hodges tip-toes the sidelines while looking downfield.
- Hey guys, the ball is over there!
- Pettiford gets another score with an interception and 32-yard run.
- Panthers grasping at 2012 NCAC rushing leader Holmes who ran for 146 in the opener.
- Mason Zurek carried 8 times for 36 yards giving Holmes a breather
- Another quick run around end for Zurek
- Junior Ollie Bauer gets an interception.
- Interceptions? How about one for Jack Montgomery?
- C.P. Porter carried the ball seven times in one drive capped by a TD.
- Porter's final carry was particularly impressive and emotional. He is in middle of this circle of Hanover defenders. Note his feet are on the four-yard line. He kept his knees pumping to get the score.
Pettiford explained in the Wabash cover two defense the play was designed to bait Hanover into throwing the ball into the flats giving defensive back a chance to jump the route.
Putko orchestrated five scoring drives on his first seven series, leading the offense to 31 of Wabash's 38 first half points.
“When we’re getting the ball inside the 30 every time, there’s not much to it,” Putko said. “Just execute and the rest will take of itself.”
Putko earned his first touchdown on a bubble throw to Houston Hodges, who knifed his way into the end zone from seven yards out.
On the first play of the second quarter, Putko made perhaps his best throw of the day threading the ball into tight coverage for a 26-yard score to Sean Hildebrand, 21-0. Hildebrand caught four passes for 66 yards.
Wabash then turned to its ground game. Tyler Holmes carried the ball eight times in the second quarter for 96 yards and two touchdowns, including one 71-yard run that came up just short of the goal line. He finished the day with 146 yards on 19 carries.
Ian McDougall converted a 31-yard field goal late in the quarter to give the Little Giants a half-time lead of 38-0. McDougall converted two field goals and made all nine extra point attempts.
As Putko noted, the Little Giant defense and special teams made life easy. The Panthers crossed midfield just once in the first half, and it was only to the Wabash 49.
“We feel like our defense can have a really strong year,” Raeburn said. “We have a lot of talent and experience on that side of the football. We were happy to see it pick up where it left off last year.”
Nate Scola set the pace for the defense with six tackles including two sacks and two more for loss. AJ Akinribade posted similar results; he had five tackles, two sacks, and two-and-a-half for loss.
Pettiford, Eddie Cmehil, Jack Montgomery, Andrew Gibson, Denzel Wilkins, and Peter Fouts each snagged interceptions. The group added up 103 return yards — 58 more than the offensive output for Hanover. Raeburn felt the pass rush was just as responsible for forcing the interception as was the coverage.
“No matter how good the quarterback is, he’s going to struggle if he has pressure,” he said.
Wabash starters only committed one penalty in the first half — a vast improvement compared to last year’s opener at Hanover when the team caused 15 thrown yellow flags.
“When you play the first game, that’s a huge fear as a coach,” Raeburn said. “We had some penalties and very few mental errors. Particularly considering it was the first game, I thought our guys were focused in.”
The Little Giants host Denison Saturday Denison. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
You can watch the entire game video cast here.
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Wabash 69, Hanover 0