FOOTBALL: Hornets Hitting Mid-Season Stride, Saline Defeats Monroe, 40-0
MONROE -- Four weeks into the regular season, the Saline varsity football team put together its most complete game yet, downing host Monroe, 40-0. Saline improved to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in the SEC Red.
"I thought this game was a reflection of how we practiced. We had a great week of practice. There were things we wanted to work on and get better at and I really thought, while we made some mistakes, we executed at a pretty high level," Saline head coach Joe Palka said.
Saline gained 324 yards to Monroe's 90. Saline's defense kept the Trojans from getting deeper than the Hornent 35-yard line. Sam Kreuzer made 7.5 tackes including a sack and three tackles for a loss. Ryan Stein made six tackles and had an interception that he returned for a touchdown. Tate Bezeau made 4.5 tackles including a sack and two tackles for a loss. Michael Reder also had a sack.
CJ Carr completed 18 of 20 pass attempts for 199 yards and two TDs while rushing for 27 yards and another TD. Ryan Niethammer rushed 15 times for 75 yards and a TD. Caid Fox caught 9 catches for 72 yards and a TD.
Riley Behrman went 2-for-2 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra points. Jacob Piniatoglou also made an extra-point kick.
Coach Joe Palka was asked if this was the Hornets most complete game of the year.
"Absolutely. We felt we were good in the kicking game.. Defensively, we are playing really well. We run really well in the back seven and we're continuing to develop some defensive linemen. Offensively, we had some procedural penalties and a missed snap, but by and large, I felt the execution level today was the highest it's been this year," Palka said.
Palka said the running game, led by a young and improving offensive line, is continuing to gain strength - which will make the Hornets harder to stop.
"The tendency is for people to believe we're going to throw the ball all over the place because of CJ. When defenses adjust to that we have to have the ability to run inside and I thought that was good. That sends a message that we're not going to be afraid to run the ball," Palka said.
Both Ryan Niethammer and CJ Carr rushed for touchdowns Friday.
The 40 blitz of Monroe has Palka feeling good about the progress his team has made this year.
"I'm very happy with where we are at. I think we are making great progress. In terms of where we are started to where we are now, that's my only measuring stick, I'm very pleased with the progress that we've made," Palka said.
Saline kicked off to Monroe, who promptly went 3-and-out before punting from its 24. Saline took over at its own 41. CJ Carr threw passes to Garrett Baldwin, Dylan Mesman and Caid Fox to get Saline down to the Monroe 30. Ryan Niethammer rushed twice for a first at the Monroe 19, and then Carr passed to Niethammer for a first down at the Monroe 9. Two plays later, Carr passed to Dylan Mesman for a touchdown.
Monroe's next drive pressed into Saline's side of the field before the Hornets shut Monroe down. On 4th and 6 from the Saline 40, Tate Bezeau sacked Ryan Sieler for a big loss. Saline took over at the Monroe 48. Two Niethammer runs later, Saline was at the 34. Then Carr threw to Roma Laurio for another first at the Monroe 17. Niethammer rushed three straight times - the last one a five yard jaunt into the end zone for six points. Saline led 13-0. The extra-point attempt was no good because of snap.
The Saline defense limited Monroe to just three plays on the next drive. On3rd-and-2, Sam Kreuzer and Sullivan Mills stopped Logan Loveland for no gain and Monroe punted from its 28.
Saline's next drive featured an assortment of short passes and runs. On 4th-and-goal from the two, Niethammer rushed in for the touchdown - but the play was called back for a false start. Saline lined up for a field goal attempt. Behrman made it from 23-yards out. Saline led 16-0.
Monroes next drive was thwarted early. On 4th-and-2 at their own 31, Garrett Baldwin hit Logan Loveland, jarring the ball loose. Peyton Widen recovered. Saline had great field position at the Monroe 30. Two plays later, CJ Carr passed to Laurio for a 13-yard gain. On the next play, Carr passed to Caid Fox, who ran toward the sideline and then dived the end zone for a 16-yard scoring play. Saline led 23-0 after the kick.
Monroe's next drive got as far as the Saline 35 - the deepest they'd get all game - before the Hornets stopped bending. Bezeau and Kreuzer dropped Sieler for a five-yard loss. on 3rd-and-14, Sieler passed to Aidan Brodie in the backfield, where Kreuzer dropped him for a four-yard loss. On 4th-and-18, Michael Reder sacked Sieler at the 45. The Hornets took over with 15 seconds left in the half. CJ Carr passed to Fox for 11 yards and Baldwin for 31 yards - with Baldwin gaining many yards after the catch. Palka called in the kicking unit with two seconds left in the half and Behrman made a 35-yard attempt. Saline led 26-0.
Saline's first possession of the second half began at its 10-yard line. The next drive was mostly the Carr-to-Fox show. The Hornets went 85 yards down to the five-yard line, where Carr faked a hand-off to Niethammer then went the other way and found a seem for the touchdown run. Saline led 33-0 after the extra point kick by Piniatoglou.
Moments later, the Hornets scored again. On 3rd down from the Monroe 25, LB Ryan Stein picked off a pass and then ran it back for the score. Behrman's kick made it 40-0.
Team SEC RED Overall
Saline 3-0, 4-0
Dexter 3-0, 4-0
Huron 2-1, 2-2
Monroe 2-1, 2-2
Bedford 1-2, 2-2
Skyline 1-2, 1-3
Lincoln 0-3, 1-3
Pioneer 0-3, 0-4
This Week's Games
Saline 40, Monroe 0
Dexter 45 Lincoln 0
Huron 30 Bedford 25
Skyline 70 Pioneer 2 (What?)
Next Week's Games
Skyline @ Saline (Homecoming)
Huron @ Monroe
Dexter @ Pioneer
Bedford @ Lincoln
|0" href="https://stats.digitalscout.com/player/15334925/football/14847297" title="Go to this player's profile" target="_blank">#3 Riley Behrman||2||2||4||10|
PUNT RETURN STATS
|0" href="https://stats.digitalscout.com/player/15334909/football/14847297" title="Go to this player's profile" target="_blank">#2 Cade Tousa||1||4||4||0|
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