BY J. PATRICK EAKEN | MIRROR SPORTS — Anthony Wayne senior quarterback Garrett Pike ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Generals shut out Southview on Friday, 27-0, at Schaller Memorial Stadium.
“Any win feels great, and in a way, it feels like we are going to right the ship at any moment,” AW coach Anderson Brungard said.
“There were still a lot of mistakes – things I’m frustrated about. We got every senior into the game tonight, and a lot of kids got onto the field of play.”
Pike accounted for 170 yards of total offense, including 53 rushing yards, as AW improved to 2-2 in four Northern Lakes League games played. Southview fell to 1-3.
Pike ran for a 21-yard touchdown with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter, and then for 19 yards with 6:10 remaining in the game.
On both of his touchdown runs, Pike found seams on the edge, broke tackles and then found open space running into the end zone virtually untouched. One TD went left, the other went right.
Who does Pike credit? His offensive line.
“All credit to the line – they did great. Wide open holes, and I just had to move and shake. It was no biggie,” Pike said.
Pike’s first touchdown came on the Generals’ first offensive possession. The Generals defense had just stopped the Cougars offense deep into AW territory, on a fourth-down-and-4 at the 21-yard line.
AW’s ensuing scoring drive took 13 plays and covered 79 yards. On Pike’s touchdown run, the AW quarterback ran left, broke a tackle, faked a second defender out and ran right toward paydirt.
However, it was AW’s 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior running back Charles Renninger who was the Generals’ workhorse, running for 112 yards on 22 carries.
It was Renninger’s fourth straight game running for over 100 yards and Pike’s fourth straight passing for over 100 yards.
Renninger scored the Generals’ third touchdown on a 5-yard run with 9:52 remaining in the third quarter.
“He’s great,” Pike said. “There will be nothing there and all of a sudden, boom, he’ll be busting it for 10 yards. He runs hard every play.”
Pike’s 17-yard touchdown pass was thrown to 6-foot-5, 210-pound senior tight end T.J. Winston with 9:30 remaining in the first half.
Winston leaped high in the back-left corner of the end zone to snare Pike’s pass – he was the only player on the field who could have caught it.
Winston’s touchdown finished off a 16-play, 61-yard drive that consumed parts of two quarters.
Pike completed 11 of 22 passes for 117 yards passing, including five to wide receiver Jacob Copley, a 6-0, 170-pound junior, for 41 yards. Winston and 6-4, 175-pound receiver Evan Ray both caught three passes for 38 yards.
In all, AW accumulated 289 yards of total offense, ran 56 plays and had 16 first downs, including 11 rushing and five passing.
On defense, AW junior safety Alex Talbert intercepted a pass thrown by Southview senior quarterback Cam Young at the Cougars’ 23-yard line.
AW junior cornerback Jeffrey Mold got his second interception this season, picking off a Young pass at the Generals’ 10-yard line and stopping a potential scoring drive with four seconds remaining in the third.
In addition, AW’s 6-1, 190-pound junior defensive lineman Brandon Hallett garnered five solo tackles, an assist and a sack.
Also getting five solos apiece were junior safety Chase Saneholtz and junior linebacker Colin DiMario. Bryce Kahl, a 6-1, 172-pound junior linebacker, had four solos and two assists.
The win came after losing two straight thrillers by a combined four points to Perrysburg and Bowling Green, who are both 4-0 and face off this Friday.
Pike was pleased to see his defense get the shutout over Southview.
“It was awesome to see them bounce back after last week. Zero points, you know, that’s donuts in the morning for us. That’s awesome,” Pike said.
“It feels really nice to get back on track and we hope to keep going with this the rest of the season.”
Brungard was pleased for the shutout, too. However, he noted that Southview had success moving the ball, generating 187 yards of total offense and 12 first downs.
“Any time you’re at home and you get a shutout, it’s awesome,” Brungard said. “The one thing that really stuck out to me was how hard that Southview played.
“They had a lot of heart and that’s a different football team than they were last year. I was impressed by their physicality, but I was also impressed by the way our kids were able to match it.
“So, anytime you get a shutout, that goes to your defensive coordinator and everybody who stepped on the field,” Brungard continued.
Young completed 17 of 27 passes for 103 yards, and a motivated 5-11, 205-pound senior running back Nick Harshman gained a hard-earned 70 yards on 13 carries.
Southview senior wide receiver Brennan Green caught three passes for 27 yards and Harshman had four catches for 24 yards.
From his linebacker position, Harshman led the defense, too, with six tackles and two assists. Senior defensive back Joshua Meek had six tackles, three assists and was in on two tackles for a loss.
This Friday, AW travels to Kazmaier Stadium in Maumee to take on the Panthers, who are 0-4 with NLL losses to BG (42-7), Southview (24-3), Napoleon (56-0) and Northview (42-0).