The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

October 5, 2013

GV gets it going

Mustangs start defense of NAC title by galloping past Southington

ORWELL — It was a long time coming, and the first two plays of the game made it seem like it would be even longer.

The Grand Valley Mustangs, behind stellar play from their front seven on both sides of the ball, though, overcame a problem which has plagued them all season to snare their first win of the season, a sound 39-20 win over the Southington Wildcats to begin defense of the Northeastern Athletic Conference championship they won last fall

In dropping their first five games, the Mustangs had gotten into the habit of shooting themselves in the foot. The Wildcats punched the Mustangs right in the nose on the first play with an onside kick which no Mustang even blinked. After recovering the ball at the GV 40, the ball never even got snapped and the Mustangs were flagged for an offside violation.

“I started thinking ‘Oh No, not again!’” GV coach John Glavickas said after being asked his thoughts on the onside kick. “Mistakes have hurt us all season. Obviously, they saw something in game films that they felt they could exploit. That first play, and then the penalty, really woke our kids up.”

The Grand Valley defense stepped up after the onside kick and held on downs at its own 24 yard line. After Jake Vormelker gained 4 yards, he handed off to Jason Hart over right tackle. He broke to the outside and raced 60 yards, setting up Vormelker’s 12-yard scoring run on the next play, and it looked like the Mustangs had punched the Wildcats right back.

Using five and a half minutes in going 55 yards, though, got Southington (3-3, 0-1 in NAC) right back into the game after Austin Casper took the ball in from a yard out.

That is when the Mustang front seven took over the game, led by Glenn Zaller and Jason Takacs.

“They had some success running the ball outside early in the game,” Glavickas said. “Coach (Clint) Sims made an adjustment by moving Glenn (Zaller) further outside at linebacker to contain the ends more, and everybody did a nice job shutting down the inside as well.”

Takacs dominated inside much of the time thereafter.

“We’re missing Ray Marsch right now,” Takacs said. “He’s out with an injury. My job is to call the defensive signals for the line. All I wanted to do tonight was make sure everybody knew their assignment on every play and to get them right.”

He was on the money most , if not all, night. A radio crew broadcasting the contest back to Trumbull County was impressed enough with his play in the middle to label him as an “absolute beast” by game’s end. He earned the accolades.

In holding Southington (1-5, 1-0 in NAC) to only 151 yards in the game, that front seven played squash with an undermanned Wildcat line, including 5 sacks on the night. Three of those were from Luke Baldwin, as the Wildcats attempted to open things up more in the second half. Rolling to his left much of the time, Austin Casper did not see Baldwin coming faster than a blue bullet train, and it wasn’t until late in the game, after several big plays from Grand Valley broke the game open, that Southington used miscues from Mustang reserves to tally two late touchdowns

“We are shorthanded, quite a bit,”

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