After losing their season opener to a powerful Phoenix Northwest Christian team, Pusch Ridge coach Bob Vance hoped his Lions could put the ball in the hands of their best athletes.
A 51-0 win over visiting Phoenix Christian in the team's home opener Friday put any concerns to rest. The Lions, who are now 1-1, play host to Miami on Friday night.
Senior quarterback Greg Schimke threw for more than 200 yards for the second straight game. This time, he was accurate, completing 16 of 19 passes, 84 percent of his throws, for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed passes to seven different receivers.
"Schimke did exceptionally well," Vance said. "We've been working on the passing game for a while."
Schimke's completions looked so easy it appeared the Lions were just playing pitch and catch in a pickup game in a friend's backyard.
Mitch Woody caught five passes for 97 yards to lead the Lions. Tyler Vance had 68 yards in receptions on four catches. Aaron Vaughn caught three balls for 43 yards, ran for a touchdown, and hooked up with Woody on a 55-yard passing play after relieving Schimke.
"We came out and hit hard," Woody said. "We made a lot less mistakes (than in the opener). The passing game did well and the running game was flawless. I think we threw only two incomplete passes in the first half."
Tyler Goodwillie led the running game with 59 yards on seven carries, while Brett Overstreet ran nine times for 52 yards. Schimke also added 55 yards rushing and ran for two scores. Overall, the Lions had 448 offensive yards.
Pusch Ridge got things started with a big play defensively, as it recovered a fumble on the first play by Phoenix Christian. Schimke connected with Vance for a 12-yard gain. A couple of plays later, Schimke went seven yards on a keeper for a 7-0 Lions lead. Chad Springetti made the extra point. On the night, Springetti was 6-6 on conversions and kicked a 21-yard field goal.
The Lions would go on to score two more touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a 21-0 lead.
Tyler Goodwillie ran 18 yards to set up an 18-yard pass play from Schimke to Trever Cook for a touchdown. On their next possession, the Lions drove 63 yards on eight plays to pay dirt. The big plays were completions from Schimke to Woody, one for 16 and another for 20. Then Schimke found Cook across the middle of the field. He eluded pursuers and veered to the right, before continuing down the sidelines 25 yards to the Phoenix 5-yard line. Vance then scored on a three-yard run.
"We've been practicing our offense a lot," Schimke said. "Last week was a real downer. We worked harder. Everyone was focused. I'm working on going through my reads. Coach said don't make any stupid mistakes."
As good as Pusch Ridge was offensively, they were equally impressive defensively. The Lions defense was so dominating it held Phoenix Christian to negative yards offensively, until the final series of the first half. Overall, the visitors managed 64 yards of total offense, and -4 yards rushing.
"The defense put a lot of pressure on their quarterback," Vance said. "Ryan Polston and Ryan Alexander did very well on defense."
At times, it seemed the best offensive weapon that Phoenix Christian could muster was their punter, Preston Van Hofwegen, who averaged 35 yards per punt on seven kicks.
Perhaps the most impressive of the seven touchdowns scored by Pusch Ridge all night came on a 42-yard run by Schimke late in the first half. He broke several tackles en route to the score that made it 28-0 at the half.
"I want to keep building on what we've done tonight," Schimke said. "One game at a time."
Phoenix Christian 0-0-0-0--0
Pusch Ridge 21-7-14-9--51
PR--Greg Schimke 7 run (Chad Springetti kick)
PR--Trevor Cook 18 pass from Schimke (Springetti kick)
PR--Vance 3 run (Springetti kick)
PR--Schimke 42 run (Springetti kick)
PR--Tyler Goodwillie 14 run (Springetti kick)
PR--Tyler Kaveloh 6 pass from Schimke (Springetti kick)
PR--Aaron Vaughn 5 run (run failed)
PR--Springetti 21 FG
Pusch Ridge statistics:
Rushing: Tyler Goodwillie 7-59, Greg Schimke 5-55, Brett Overstreet 9-52, Aaron Vaughn 2-10, Chris Goodwillie 2-1;
Passing: Greg Schimke 16-19-0, 216 yards, Aaron Vaughn 1-2-0, 55 yards;
Receiving: Mitch Woody 5-97, Tyler Vance 4-68, Aaron Vaughn 3-43, Trever Cook 2-43, Chris Goodwillie 1-17, Tyler Kaveloh 1-5, Tyler Goodwillie 1-(-2).