Springlake-Earth was “firing on all cylinders” in its playoff game according to senior running back Nathan Garcia — and he was right.
The Wolverines used offense, defense and special teams to top the Wheeler Mustangs, 38-6, in a Region I-1A Division II area playoff game Friday on Happy State Bank Field at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium.
The Wolverines (9-2) ran for 210 yards and held Wheeler (4-8) to five first downs.
“We have a big strong football team,” Springlake-Earth coach Stan Caffey said. “We play good defense. We have some talented running backs as well. It’s fun to coach a team like this. We’ve played good defense all year long. We are averaging giving up seven points a game.”
The Wolverines advanced to face the winner of the Wellington-Bovina game in the next round of the playoffs.
Springlake-Earth just kept pounding the ball with a few key passes sprinkled in to build a 24-6 halftime lead.
The opening drive set the tone as Springlake-Earth drove 45 yards for a touchdown.
Four running backs carried the ball on the drive, with Garcia carrying it twice for 23 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run.
“We are not a team to be selfish,” Garcia said. “We try to spread the ball around to everybody and let everybody get their shot. Everybody works hard so they all get a shot.”
The Wolverines kept to that mantra as nine players carried the ball as the team averaged 5.25 yards per carry.
“We have a little depth at running back,” Caffey said. “It all boils down to offensive line play. If your offensive line is blowing them off the ball then you’ve got a good shot no matter who carries it.”
Wheeler coach Brandon Smith said his team just couldn’t contain Springlake-Earth.
“It was extremely tough,” Smith said. “Springlake-Earth is a good team. They are big and fast and quick. They are sound and balanced all the way across. Our special teams didn’t do very good. If you can’t contain these guys, they are going to break one on you, and that’s what they did.”
Garcia provided the lethal blow. After Wheeler opened the second half with a three-and-out, punter Ismael Buenrostro boomed one to the 30-yard line. Garcia hauled in the punt, made a couple moves and took it to the house to give Springlake-Earth a 31-6 lead and quell any momentum Wheeler was trying to build.
Garcia finished with 80 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, plus the punt return for a third touchdown.
“I was just doing whatever I could to help the team,” Garcia said. “Our lineman blocked tremendously, and our running backs did a good job of blocking out of the backfield, too.”
- 12/7/12 - Wellington wallops Sudan
- 12/7/12 - Follett advances to state title game
- 12/7/12 - Bulldogs take bite out of Elks
- 12/1/12 - Stratford too strong for Panhandle
- 12/1/12 - Skyrockets thump Springlake-Earth
- 12/1/12 - Booker QB Lile breaks 2 passing marks in loss
- 11/30/12 - Follett routs Matadors
- 11/24/12 - Skyrockets zoom past Bovina
- 11/24/12 - Canadian takes out No. 9 Cisco, 27-20
- 11/24/12 - Wheeler falls to Wolverines
Springlake-Earth 38, Wheeler 6
Wheeler 0 6 0 0 — 6
Springlake-Earth 21 3 14 0 — 38
SE—Nathan Garcia 14 run (Elder Rojas kick)
SE—Rojas 1 run (Rojas kick)
SE—Will Green 49 pass from John Angel Yannis (Rojas kick)
SE—Rojas 21 field goal
W—Andrew Coomer 12 run (kick failed)
SE—Garcia 70 punt return
SE—Garcia 4 run (Rojas kick)
First Downs 5 13
Rushing Yards 70 210
Passing Yards 17 118
Total Yards 87 325
C-A-I 3-6-0 4-10-2
Punts-Avg. 6-32.7 1-45
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 1-15 7-42
Passing—Wheeler: Jake Ware 3-5-17, Zack McCasland 0-1-0; Springlake-Earth: John Angel Yannis 3-7-78; Elder Rojas 1-3-40.
Rushing—Wheeler: Zay McCasland 8-15; Andrew Coomer 13-41; Jake Ware 10-10; Eduardo Ramirez 1-0; Cody Clarke 1-4; Springlake-Earth: Nathan Garcia 14-80; Elder Rojas 11-63; Yannis 7-41; Andy Garcia 2-2; Elijah Ramon 1-13; Monroe Luther 2-9; Jonathan Silva 1-0; Nathan Longoria 1-2; Ethan McLain 1-4.
Receiving—Wheeler: Zay McCasland 1-2; Ramirez 1-0; Zack McCasland 1-15; Springlake-Earth: Will Green 3-93; Luther 1-25.