Sandusky blanks Napoleon, GBC title within reach
Oct 23, 2010 at 10:24 AM
There was a lot riding on the final home game of the year for Sandusky on Friday in its rivalry with the Napoleon Wildcats.
The Blue Streaks have playoff aspirations, a win would bring them closer to a repeat Greater Buckeye Conference Championship and their first winning season since the 1999 campaign, and coach Mike Franklin wanted to send his seniors out with a win in the Streaks last home game in the GBC before next season's move to the Northern Ohio League.
Consider it a success on all accounts.
With the 26-0 victory over the Wildcats, Sandusky avenged last year's 30-0 pasting to set up next week's regular season finale at Fremont Ross with a lot on the line. The Little Giants beat Lima Senior on Friday, 28-3, to remain undefeated in the conference and clinch a share of the title, while Findlay and the Streaks (6-3 overall) sit at 3-1.
A win will gave the Streaks a share of the GBC and most assuredly push them into the playoffs. Currently, Sandusky sits in the 9th position in Division II, region 6. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
"We like this to be the way we send our seniors off," said Franklin, whose squad posted just its second win against the Wildcats since the GBC began in 2003. "It's all about the seniors at the end of the day. It's fun to see them celebrate. It's a great group of seniors. There are not a lot of them. It's not the quantity, but a whole lot of quality."
Senior running back Cordney Strickland led the talented group with 271 yards rushing on 39 carries with three touchdowns. He added 51 yards receiving to account for 322 of the 396 yards of total offense put up by Sandusky. The Streak defense limited the 'Cats to 109 yards of offense.
The game was won in the trenches, with the Streaks out-muscling Napoleon on the line. That allowed Strickland to run wild, quarterback Lucas Poggiali (9-for-10 passing for 121 yards) plenty of time to find his receivers, and the Sandusky defense the ability to shut down the 'Cats offense.
"In all honesty, the laws of physics kind of prevailed," said Napoleon coach Tory Strock. "They might be the most physical team in the GBC. Their size and speed had a lot to do with almost everything on both sides of the ball."
The tone was set right off the bat, with Strickland scoring Sandusky's first touchdown on a 2-yard run that capped the Streaks opening drive. It was all Strickland in the drive, who carried the ball eight times covering 67 yards. His first three runs netted 56 yards and Sandusky looked unstoppable. By the end of the first quarter he had 109 yards on 12 tries.
He could have added another touchdown to his total, but lost a fumble at the Wildcat 1. The defense rose to the occasion, though, forcing three punts on Napoleon's three first half possessions.
Sandusky put together perhaps its finest drive of the season just before halftime, going 80 yards in 14 plays to score with one second left in the second quarter. The drive covered 6:47 on the clock, with Dameyion Smith scoring on a 9-yard toss from Poggiali.
Smith was wide open near the goal line, hauled in the perfectly thrown toss, and turned untouched into the endzone.
The drive was kept alive by a defensive pass interference call on the play before. Strickland also factored in on the biggest play of the drive with the Streaks facing a third and 31 from the Sandusky 42 after a holding penalty and a Poggiali sack. Strickland had a step on his defender and went high for the ball at the Wildcat 19 to snag Poggiali's throw, coming down with the ball and a first down.
Two plays later Smith scored and Sandusky had some breathing room. Strickland then kept up the pressure by churning up yardage and scoring on runs of 30 and 12 to finish the scoring in the second half. The defense hung tough and posted the shutout, its first of the season.
"Anytime you control the line of scrimmage, you have a good chance to win," Franklin said. "Our defense came to play tonight. When our defense plays well, our offense plays well. It's been like that all year.
"I think this win is important for our program. We haven't seen the playoffs for 20 years. You hate to talk about it, but we have a really good shot. The seniors deserve it."
Napoleon 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Sandusky 7 6 13 0 -- 26
S -- Cordney Strickland 2 run (Brock Cremean kick)
S -- Dameyion Smith 9 pass from Lucas Poggiali (kick blocked)
S -- Strickland 30 run (pass failed)
S -- Strickland 12 run (Cremean kick)
First Downs 6 22
Rushes-Yards 23-63 45-275
Passing-Yards 46 121
Comp-Att-Int 3-10-0 9-10-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 5-38 11-115
Napoleon --Tyle Miller 1-1, Devon Sonnenberg 14-51, Skyler Andeson 5-21, Jacob Plassman 2-(-5), Drew Gerkien 1-(-5). Sandusky -- Strickland 39-271, Poggiali 2-(-17); Marquis Winston 4-22, Jaylen Guevara 1-(-1).
Napoleon -- Plassman 3-9-46-0-0, Miller 0-1-0-0-0. Sandusky --Poggial 9-10-121-0-1.
Napoleon -- Miller 1-7, Jacob Stuber 2-39. Sandusky -- Tristen Jeffries 2-20, Brock Fuqua 2-30, Strickland 3-51, Smith 2-20.