When Henry Malcuit hit Jared Burnworth for a 25 yard-scoring strike late in the first quarter of Strasburg’s football game with the Garaway Pirates on The Hill in Sugarcreek Friday, Oct. 30, the Tigers held out hope of an Inter-Valley Conference upset.
The Pirates made sure that didn’t happen, scoring seven unanswered touchdowns to light up the Tigers 63-7 to cap off the 2015 regular season in OHSAA football.
While the offense put up some pretty impressive numbers with 63 points, it was truly Garaway’s defense that was the most frighteningly imposing part of this night, allowing just 43 total yards to the Tigers.
While the Tigers boast the orange and black colors of Halloween, it was the Pirates defense that proved to be the scariest thing on The Hill the night before Trick-or-Treat.
Garaway scored on the game’s first drive, with Joshua Billman capping off the Pirates’ opening effort with a 12-yard scoring run, Joel Honigford’s extra point providing Garaway with a 7-0 lead.
After stymieing the Tigers, Garaway went right back to work, this time scoring on an R.J. Jacobs pass to Ty Hamsher from 29 yards out for a 14-0 edge.
The Tigers then went down the field and earned their lone score of the night to trim the Pirates’ lead to 14-7 after the Yannik Helm extra point, but with 2:17 left in the first quarter, Garaway would dominate.
In fact, it took Garaway just over one minute to produce the first of its seven straight TDs, the big play coming on a 55-yard scoring strike over the middle from Jacobs to Carson Troyer.
Leading 21-7 after one quarter, Garaway kept applying plenty of pressure, using its speed to crack off plenty of big gainers.
Three minutes into the second quarter, Jacobs found Hamsher again for a touchdown, this time from 20 yards out, to give Garaway a 28-7 lead.
The defense, led by Dallas Foster, who racked up eight tackles including three of them for a loss, and Ian Hershberger, who added seven tackles, stumped the Tigers, and Garaway’s prolific offense went back to work. This time Jacobs would find Quinn Miller for an eight-yard touchdown pass and Garaway held a 35-7 lead.
Five minutes before the half, Garaway would add to its lead, moving ahead 42-7 when Jacobs hooked up with Miller on a 36 yard touchdown pass.
The Pirates would score twice more in the third quarter, the first on a Jacobs-to-Miller connection of 41 yards, the second on a Brady Winters touchdown run of four yards.
Foster would put the finishing touch on this Pirates romp with an 18-yard scoring run, giving Garaway a 63-7 lead with 7:30 left to play. The Pirates defense would hold from there out as head coach Jason Wallick got everyone playing time.
Statistically, Garaway put up some stunning numbers, including 496 yards of total offense compared to Strasburg’s 43 yards. What is even more impressive for the Pirates’ defense is that it allowed an average of just 1.2 yards per play to the Tigers, while the Garaway offense averaged 11.8 yards per play, enough to gain a first down on every snap.
Garaway outgained Strasburg on the ground 164-6, and through the air 332-37.
Individually, Malcuit tossed the one touchdown and was 6-of-8 passing for 38 yards. Jacobs was 14-of-20 for 332 yards and a whopping six touchdown passes, and tacked on 24 rushing yards in three attempts. Foster led a balanced ground attack for Garaway, churning out 65 yards on seven carries, while Winters went for 52 yards on six carries and Billman added 22 yards on four totes.
Burnworth was Malcuit’s favorite target for the Tigers, hauling in five catches for 38 yards. For the Pirates, Hamsher caught six passes for 147 yards, Miller hauled in five catches for 126 yards and Troyer had the one grab, but made it count for a 55-yard score
The Pirates would end their season at 6-4, not a bad finish after a rough start saw them get off to a 2-4 start. Garaway ended the year by winning its final four games, and finished third in the Inter-Valley Conference at 5-2, trailing Sandy Valley and Ridgewood.
The Tigers ended the season at 2-8 overall and 0-7 in IVC play.