Defense dominates in football team’s 31-0 blowout win over Pittsburg

Ben Wieland, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

The team blew out Pittsburg High School 31-0 Friday, Oct. 11. The defense posted their first shutout of the season and quarterback Cooper Marsh threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns. 

The defense dominated all game long, forcing three turnovers and two turnovers on downs and preventing Pittsburg from crossing midfield until late in the third quarter. Defensive coordinator Drew Hudgins credited the defense’s shutdown performance to their intense preparation and work ethic. 

“This group does a great job with preparation. They lock in every single week and spend a lot of time on it,” Hudgins said. “It’s really less about the game plan and more about the players in terms of being locked into their reads.”

No part of the defense has seen more improvement throughout the season than stopping the run. After the run defense was gashed for 283 yards by Blue Valley West and 241 yards by Bishop Miege at the beginning of the season, they held Pittsburg to only 106 rushing yards on 38 carries. Hudgins explained the work that’s been put in throughout the season by the defense. 

“[Our run defense] just keeps improving in basically every area of the game,” Hudgins said. “At the point of attack, we’re getting better. Our procedures are getting better.”

While the defense stole the show, receivers Ty Reishus and Jacob Hartman also got their moments in the spotlight. Reishus accumulated five catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns and Hartman hauled in three passes for 109 yards and two more touchdowns. 

Hartman’s two scores tripled his season total, and his 119 receiving yards were the most he’s put up all season. He saw it as a breakout game. 

“I just personally had a good game,” Hartman said. “Now I need to keep it going.”

In the first quarter, the defense set the tone early. Safety Trey Worcester scooped up a Pittsburg fumble on the third play of the game and a turnover on downs, forced after the Pittsburg punter mishandled a snap, led to the team’s only score of the quarter: a 37-yard field goal by kicker Chris Tennant. 

However, Pittsburg’s defense shut down the team’s offense in the first quarter. They held the team to only one first down and zero completions. 

In the second quarter, the offense began to move the ball — on their first drive of the half, a 44-yard carry by running back Tyler Green put th

e team in position for Reishus’s 10-yard touchdown catch on a slant from Marsh. 

On the second drive, the team drove to the Pittsburg 9 before a fourth-down fumble by running back Quin Wittenauer gave Pittsburg the ball back. The defense continued to hold firm and safety Jack Mcguire came up with the team’s second interception, and the team entered halftime with a 10-0 lead. 

The offense came out firing in the second half, with Marsh completing an 81-yard touchdown bomb to Hartman on just the third play after halftime and a 19-yard touchdown to Hartman on the next drive. After the defense forced yet another turnover on downs near the end of the quarter, with the team up 24-0, the game was all but over.  

During garbage time in the fourth quarter, linebacker Carson Caldwell recovered another fumble for the defense and Reishus hauled in a 71-yard touchdown from Marsh, stiff-arming a defensive back en route to his second score of the game. The team finished with a decisive 31-0 victory. 

The ground game wasn’t as successful as it had been for the past few weeks, totaling only 115 yards. Green paced the ground game with nine carries for 71 yards, and he had a 53-yard carry in the third quarter negated by a penalty. Wittenauer added 11 carries for 36 yards, and Marsh tacked on five carries for eight yards. 

Thankfully, the passing game was able to get the job done, especially in the second half — three of Marsh’s four touchdown throws came after the break. Hudgins thought that Marsh’s play and a rejuvenated offense deserved credit for the team’s performance in the second half. 

“I know there was a bigger pep in the offense’s step. I think they were motivated to come out and start the second half fast, which they did with a big play touchdown,” Hudgins said. “Cooper played his butt off in the second half and led that offense in a lot of different areas. It was good to see them bounce back with a great second half.”

The team will play again Friday, Oct. 18 on the road against Blue Valley. 

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