Running behind the offensive line of Nick Gough, Jonah Thurman, Ethan Talleur, Luke Feddersen, Ryan Barrett and tight ends Jacob Hawkins and Mason Dodson, the St. Clair Bulldogs ran for 479 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in a 53-20 home win over Duchesne Friday.
Marcus Kirk rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns, while Josh Richards rushed for 212 yards and three scores in the victory.
Richards was quick to give all the credit to his offensive line.
“It doesn’t happen without the offensive line,” said Richards. “You need a line or you’re not doing that. It doesn’t matter how good you are — if you got no line, you’ve got no yards.”
Gough says it is just great to block for these two backs and a team effort.
“I play for them and they play for us,” said Gough. “It has been great to block for them, it is just a team effort, we play as hard as we can all the time.”
St. Clair (7-1, 5-1) committed no turnovers and scored on all seven possessions they had during the game.
St. Clair Head Coach Brian Robbins said he likes the way his offense is playing but says there is improvement to be made.
“Our kids are playing well up-front,” said Robbins. “Our running backs are running hard and quarterback Tim Hoffman is doing a nice job spraying the ball around to different kids. We just can’t become complacent, we need to continue to improve. We can get better. I’m telling you, we’ve got a way to go but we can get there.”
Duchesne was able to score on its first possession with the Bulldogs answering with a one-yard run by Richards and two-point conversion by Kirk to lead 8-6 at the 4:11 mark of the first quarter.
Duchesne was driving again moving into Bulldog territory when an illegal procedure stalled the drive. This seemed to be all the Bulldogs needed to take over the game.
“It puts them in a long yardage situation, said Robbins. “It makes them a little more predictable, they had to do some things they probably didn’t want to do and our kids capitalized on that.”
Duchesne was doing a fair job of clogging up the middle runs and holding the Bulldogs to short yardage. Robbins said they have seen this before and had a plan for it.
“We have seen this for the last two to three years where we get teams cutting us or crawling with their defensive line and linebackers,” said Robbins. “We have learned from it and have things we are going to do when we get that and our kids have adapted well. You know you play certain teams that do that and you prepare for it. Being prepared is half the battle. When you cut you are on the ground and not much good anywhere else and we have to figure out a way to handle that.”
St. Clair took advantage at the end of the first quarter when Kirk took the handoff at his own 15-yard line and made a cut outside, outracing everyone to the end zone 85 yards later as time expired.
It was all St. Clair in the second quarter, getting touchdown runs of 57 yards by Kirk and 25 yards by Richards for a 30-6 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs picked up in the third quarter where they left off getting touchdowns on a 20-yard pass from Hoffman to Chris Scott, a one-yard run by Kirk and a two-point conversion by Bailey Smith who also added an extra point in the fourth quarter.
Next week the Bulldogs travel to Owensville (5-3, 5-1) in a matchup of the last two Four Rivers Conference Champions. The winner is guaranteed a share of the conference title. Robbins and Kirk know it will be a battle.
“Owensville is a really good team,” said Kirk. “We just have to focus on doing our jobs and working hard to win it.”
“If we want a piece of it we are going to have to play well and beat a team that is pretty good probably the best team we’ve seen all year,” said Robbins. “They have a lot of firepower, scoring a lot of points and continue to roll. We will enjoy this one tonight and then get back to work next week.”
Offensively, the Bulldogs were led in rushing by Kirk (219 yards) and Richards (212 yards) with three touchdowns each.
Hoffman rushed for 48 yards and Dalton Thompson gained eight yards.
Hoffman was 4-5 passing for 41 yards and a touchdown. Chris Scott had all four receptions.
Defensively the Bulldogs were led by Harry Ramos, who had another big night with nine tackles and one assist.
Thompson was next with six tackles (two assists) following with four tackles each were Barrett (one assist) and Damion McCoy (two assists). Anthony White recorded three tackles and two assists.
With two tackles each were Brendyn Stricker, Smith, Thurman (two assists), Scott (one interception), Tanner Durham and Caleb Smith.
Recording one tackle each were Kamalei Bursey (one assist), Dodson, Brendinn Webb, Christian Gordon, and Dakota Gotsch.