CONNEAUT — Junior running back Zack Rice scored four touchdowns in the first half to lead a dominating rushing attack as the Conneaut Spartans defeated the North East Grape Pickers 46-14 Friday night at Joslin Field.
Conneaut improved to 2-1 with the win while North East dropped to 0-2 on the season.
Rice finished the game rushing the ball 11 times for 174 yards and had two receptions for 51 yards receiving.
“The holes were wide open and I was just following my blockers and finding space” Rice said.
Spartans quarterback junior Nathan Koston, in his second varsity start, threw for 153 yards passing and finished 9-for-14 with 1 touchdown throw.
“My line blocked really good and I was comfortable in the pocket and I was able to throw the ball,” Koston said.
Spartans coach Rocco Dobran said he was pleased that his team executed well and focused on doing the little things right. He credited the offensive line along with Rice making big plays for the offense.
“I think Koston is really settling in at quarterback and feeling more comfortable there. Defensively, we were outstanding,” Dobran said. “Our game plan was to try to stop the run and if they passed we might give up something, but we made minor adjustments. The kids really gave effort all night and came with a lot of energy.”
With a big lead in the second half, the Spartans were able to get some extended looks at young players, including sophomore Max Gleason who played quarterback and running back.
Gleason finished the game 2-for-2 with 35 yards passing and a touchdown. He also carried the ball for 26 yards on four carries.
Rice got the Spartans on the board quickly with a 42-yard run with 10:31 left in the first quarter. The extra point by senior kicker Chase Carpenter made it 7-0.
The Spartans scored on its next drive as Rice got into the end zone after a 5-yard touchdown run to give Conneaut a 13-0 led with 7:16 in the first quarter.
Rice again hit paydirt with a 39-yard touchdown run with 9:46 in the first quarter to make it 20-0 after the extra point.
Junior running back Daykon Chabot added a 9-yard touchdown with 5:56 left before halftime to make it 27-0.
Rice scored his fourth rushing touchdown on a 17-yard carry with 2:48 in the second quarter to give the Spartans a 33-0 lead.
Sophomore running back Wyatt Payne got into the end zone with just 11 seconds remaining before halftime on an 8-yard reception from Koston to make it 40-0 at halftime.
Carpenter put the Spartans up 46-0 after he hauled in a 26-yard pass from Gleason with 1:58 left in the third quarter. The extra point by freshman Thaddeus Huya was no good.
North East junior running back Tyler Whittman scored on a 2-yard TD run with 9:02 remaining in the game to get the Grape Pickers on the scoreboard to cut the Spartans lead to 46-6 after the 2-point conversion failed.
Senior running back Casey Burch added a 13-yard touchdown run with 3:52 remaining and Whittman scored the 2-point conversion with 3:52 remaining to make it a 46-14 contest.
Conneaut at Grove City on Sept. 10, North East at home vs. Corry on Sept. 10