Buchtel’s defense held Firestone to 161 yards of offense as the Griffins earned their first win in a 19-0 home victory in muddy conditions Saturday afternoon.
“We went a whole month and a half without tasting any kind of win at all,” Buchtel coach Ricky Powers said. “And that’s tough. Our kids found a way to win. Both teams had to play in these conditions. I didn’t know the field was this bad until I got out here. I mean wow, this is pretty bad.”
Both teams stuck to a run-heavy approach, as a slippery football led to plenty of bad snaps and dropped passes, but the Griffins (1-3, 1-0 City Series) were able to hold the Falcons (0-4, 0-1) to 54 yards rushing on 34 carries and also had the edge in the passing game.
“We stayed with the same game plan,” Powers said. “We want to run the ball. We had some success at times but a lot of our gains were off play-action. If you can run the ball you can do play-action on anybody, which helped us out a lot.”
On the game’s opening possession, Firestone handed the ball off to senior running back Dontel Stone on the team’s first seven plays, making its game plan evident from the get-go.
“I think it took us awhile to start getting our leverage and trying to hit those gaps a little faster,” Powers said. “I thought they were pretty tough up front. That was our biggest worry because they’re so big. Our guys stepped up to the challenge and did a great job.”
Stone finished with 79 yards rushing on 28 carries.
Senior quarterback Chris Davis directed the Griffins’ offense, utilizing the play-action rollout to both pass and run effectively.
Davis was 11-of-21 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 58 yards on 11 carries.
The Griffins had trouble getting their offense going early, with Davis completing three of his first nine pass attempts.
“The thing is, Chris is used to having some seasoned receivers,” Powers said. “Guys that have been there for a while doing it. We’ve got a lot of first-year guys. Of course we’ve got [Deric] Rucker but the other guys are more defensive guys we put on offense, so he’s still trying to get acclimated with those guys.”
Rucker led the Buchtel receiving corps with three catches for 54 yards.
After the sloppy start, Davis settled into a groove and got the Griffins on the board in the second quarter when, after converting a fourth-and-10 with a 14-yard pass, he found a hole and ran up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown.
“In these kind of conditions, you’ve got to take what you can get,” Powers said. “There were times where he saw some daylight and he just ran. That had nothing to do with coaching, it was just a guy saying, ‘Hey man, I need to move forward and get going’ and he helped us out with his decision-making.”
On the Griffins’ next possession, they started with good field position on Firestone’s side of the field and drove to the 15. A high snap over Davis’ head cost them 19 yards and left them with a second-and-29. But Davis connected with sophomore tight end Derrick Harvey Jr. for a 34-yard touchdown pass to put the Griffins ahead 13-0 going into halftime.
Davis gave the Griffins another score in the fourth quarter, when he connected with junior Tymeon Ollison for a 32-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-15 play.
Buchtel will next play Garfield on short rest Thursday at Ellet.
Firestone’s next game is Saturday at Kenmore.