By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
The Windham defense was trying to take away certain parts of the Pymatuning Valley offense, so the Lakers took advantage of what it was leaving open.
In doing so, PV swamped the Bombers, 38-12, in Northeastern Athletic Conference play.
“We were able to hit them inside,” PV coach Neal Croston said. “They blitzed a lot and our guards did a good job with the inside blocks. We were able to hit inside with Nick Such.
“They were blitzing the outside, trying to take away tosses and sweeps.”
Such carried for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 15 attempts for PV (2-4, 1-0).
“He stepped in and did what J.T. (Willis) was doing before he got hurt with physical runs,” Croston said. “He was turning a 3-yard gain into an 8-yard run by carrying the pile.
“It’s big that he can do that for us because we miss J.T. a lot.”
Such was aided by the return of Ryan Wilkerson on the offensive line.
“Ryan Wilkerson (a right tackle) came back and he and Hunter Rhoades (a right guard) are our top guys,” Croston said. “We have guys who can go in as a backup, but we don’t have a replacement for Ryan.”
With Such pounding away on the inside and drawing the defense in, Quintin Ratliff and Nick Holt attacked from the outside.
“Later in the game Quintin was able to break a run and Holt went for 79 yards because the defense was anticipating us going inside,” Croston said. “Even the fade we hit was because they were blitzing and playing man. We have two receivers in Holt and Quintin who we can take some chances with.”
Ratliff netted 149 yards and two scores rushing and 17 yards and a touchdown receiving. Holt tallied 111 yards rushing, including a 79-yard touchdown.
The PV defense held Windham to total 238 yards and just 12 points.
“We stayed home and played our positions,” Croston said. “We didn’t overcompensate and try to do things we aren’t capable of. We stayed home and made plays.”
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.