Sure, the Garaway Pirates offense has been a juggernaut during the first four weeks of the OHSAA football season, scoring on almost every possession it has had this year. Whether through the air, or on the ground, and usually in a matter of just two or three minutes, nearly each drive has ended with Garaway celebrating in the end zone.
However, who knew head coach Jason Wallick had yet to unleash his most wicked and incredible weapon of all? That weapon was unveiled during Garaway’s 41-7 trouncing of East Canton Friday, Sept. 16 on The Hill in Sugarcreek.
It was there that little-used punter Ty Hamsher, apparently the best-kept secret in football, was finally given an opportunity to show the world just what kind of leg he has.
The result of his two punts? The numbers would make any NFL punter jealous. Hamsher’s first punt was sent skyward, spiraling well over the head of east Canton’s return man. The next one also split the seam of two deep men, Hamsher mashing it even as he tight-roped the back of the end zone line on a snap from the two-yard line.
The end result was 100 yards worth of real estate, meaning he had averaged 50 yards per kick.
“I’ve punted two times before tonight, and one of them was in a JV game,” said Hamsher with a laugh. “I haven’t had a lot of calls from the sideline to punt so far, but I practice every day with Coach Bartholomew. He has helped me out so much, and I do like it. I’d just as soon not have to ever punt again if it means we are scoring.”
Bartholomew is a former Ohio State University punter who brings a ton of experience and knowledge to the Pirates program. Both Hamsher and Wallick give him big kudos for his efforts in making the punting game a success.
“Coach Bartholomew has taken a lot of time to work with Ty and turned him into a really good punter,” said Wallick. “He has really done a nice job, and he can boom it. We just haven’t had to use him a whole lot.”
That is because the offense has been so prolific, scoring more than 40 points in each game thus far.
“I don’t want to punt, and it’s a good thing if I don’t, but if I have the chance, I feel comfortable that I will get the job done,” said Hamsher, who is also one of the five wide-outs who have terrorized defenses this season.
“R.J. (Jacobs) has a lot of options to throw to, and he does a great job of getting the ball where it needs to be,” said Hamsher. “We are talented, but more importantly, I think we have worked hard all get on the same page, and it is a very tight-knit group.”
The Pirates had scored on 26 of its last 28 possessions before the second unit came in late versus East Canton and forced Hamsher to strut his stuff. Wallick said he realizes they won’t keep up that pace, but they are enjoying it while it is here.
“There will come a time when our offense will sputter, “said Wallick. “We know that. We have been fortunate so far, but that is just part of the game. Fortunately, our defense has been phenomenal since the first half of our first game with Dalton. With us scoring so much, people don’t realize that, because it kind of takes a back seat.”
Wallick said a key has been the return of junior linebacker Dillon Donaldson, who came back from an earlier injury to settle back into his middle linebacker slot, thus freeing up both Gunnar Angel and Kory Stress to move back to their outside linebacker spots.
“Getting Dillon back has been pretty key,” said Wallick. “He has played tremendously well since his return, and that has helped us get into a rhythm defensively. We are very pleased defensively. We know we aren’t there yet and we still need to get better, and we have made some mistakes, that is part of the game. But our defense has done a fantastic job.”