October 9, 2010


Fun night for Trojans

TrojansBob Ellis/staff photographer
Despite getting a stiff arm from Hannibal ball carrier Blair Taylor (10), Homer Central’s Mike Hartnett made this tackle Friday night at Butts Field, where the Trojans were 28-6 football winners to improve to 5-1 on the season.

Staff Writer

All season long head coach Gary Podsiedlik and his players have talked about being a team, about being a football family.
With some of the family sidelined with injuries Friday night, others stepped up as four different players scored touchdowns as Homer Central closed out Homecoming-Senior Night activities with a 28-6 Section 3 Class B West Division dominating win over Hannibal under the Butts Field lights.
With senior fullback Frank Davis on the sidelines for the evening, classmate Andy Parker resumed his past duties at that position. That opened up a starting spot for senior tailback Zerek Zimmerman, who carried the ball 21 times for 137 yards as Homer improved to 4-1 in the division and 5-1 overall.
Parker added five carries for 38 yards and one touchdown as the Trojans maintained a share of first place with Westhill and Marcellus in the standings.
“I was really the O-line,” Zimmerman said of his successful outing. “They did a great job and I just took advantage of the opportunity that the coaches gave me. Parker did a great job closing down the defensive end and the line opened some big holes. They all did a great job. It was a fun night.”
One of those lineman was senior Tyler McMullen, the right tackle realy enjoyed the regular-season finale alongside senior Joe Marchetti (left tackle), senior Ryan Alexander (left guard), senior Nate Parker (center) and junior Sully Hartnett (right guard).
“It really an honor just to play on that field,” McMullen said. “We’re not individuals, we’re a team. The backs, the receivers, the linemen, we are a whole team. We started meshing in pre-season and this is what we’ve done so far. We’re not perfect, but we keep working hard to improve and hope good things come from it.
“We don’t know what the future holds,” he continued. “We just to keep winning games and hope that we get another home game.”
“We didn’t have or best 11 guys out there tonight on both sides of the ball, but we did all right,” noted Coach Podsiedlik. “We played good defense and did not allow Hannibal across the 50-yard line until their final drive of the night. We didn’t have the big letdown after beating Westhill (last week).
“Hannibal has a good team,” he added. “They have played teams tough all season, they just don’t have enough players. We did wear them down.”
Hannibal (0-5, 0-6 overall) won the opening coin toss, but deferred to the second half. That decision let Homer get on the board quickly.
Cody Sandy took the opening kickoff and returned it 32 yards to the Trojan 49. Zimmerman raced 19 yards on his first carry. After three more running plays, junior quarterback Thomas Austin connected with Sandy on a 20-yard pitch-and-catch to the Hannibal four-yard line.
Sandy took the next handoff and capped the six-play drive with his four-yard touchdown run with 9:27 left in the quarter.
THE WINLESS WARRIORS had their first drive stalled at their own 42 and Brad Smith unleashed a low punt that bounced over the head of Hunter Osborne and rolled 58 yards into the Trojan end zone for a touchback.
The Trojans used just five plays to cover the 80 yards to the Hannibal end zone. The big play was a 52-yard scamper by Sandy (4 carries-61 yards) to the Warrior 24-yard line. Austin capped the drive by running a nice bootleg play to his left for the six-yard score. Austin flipped the two-point conversion pass to Hatfield for a 14-0 advantage with 3:50 left in the first quarter,
Austin finished the night with 31 yards rushing on four well thought out runs. He also completed four-of-five passing attempts for 53 yards and no interceptions. A good overall game for the junior signal-caller.
“That was one of the highlight tonight,” Podsiedlik said. “Thomas made up his mind to run tonight. He stepped under the protection, saw no one was open and saw he had the opening. He ran smart by getting out of bounds when he needed to. This was probably his best game as far as making decisions.”
The Warriors were still having trouble moving the ball, but the Trojans were hurting their own cause by fumbling the ball away. Three times the ball hit the turf and twice the Warriors pounced on the pigskin to kill drives.
After a near turnover earlier in the next drive, Homer did give the ball back to to Hannibal at the Warriors’ 24-yard line after a second fumble. The Warriors still cold not move the ball.
Then came The Drive.
Homer chewed up most of the second-quarter clock with a 14-play, 78-yard excursion that took seven minutes to complete. The drive consisted of all running plays including a 13-yard dash by Frank Davi and a 22-yard scamper by Zimmerman on fourth down to the Hannibal nine. Two plays later, Parker (5-38) capped the lone march with a four-yard blast as the Trojan lead stood at 21-0 with 1:31 left in the first half.
The Trojans ran for 229 yards in the first half while the defensive unit limited Hannibal to 61 rushing yards and six passing yards on eight attempts.
HANNIBAL THREATENED to cross the midfield stripe on its first drive of the second half reaching their own 46 before the drive stalled when tailback Blair Taylor was tackled nine yards behind the line of scrimmage on third down.
Homer took over the ball at their own 35 after Osborne made a fair-catch on the punt. The Trojan drive stalled at the Hannibal seven with another fumble, but more importantly Sandy suffered an apparent concussion on the play and was sidelined the rest of the night.
The Warriors were pinned deep and did nothing. Smith made a nice punt from his end zone that Osborne fielded at the Hannibal 41. After making the first man miss, Osborne found an open lane and raced to the Warrior eight-yard line before he was dragged down.
On the next play, Austin floated a pass to Osborne who was all alone in the left corner of the end zone. The extra-point kick was good and Homer led 28-0 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
Podsiedlik substituted freely as every healthy Trojan got a good amount of playing time.
Hannibal did avoid the shutout with a seven-play drive late in the game. Warrior quarterback Alec Nelson flipped an 11-yard scoring pass to tight end Zach Welling with 17 seconds remaining for the only Warrior points. The scoring play was set up, in part, by a 51-yard run by Taylor. The senior tailback finished the game with 111 yards on 18 rushing attempts. That long run helped Hannibal net 146 yards on the ground. Nelson competed six of 19 passing attempts for 61 yards.
Homer will wrap up their West Division regular season next Saturday. The Trojans travel to Phoenix for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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