Orioles continue mastery of I-70 football
Getting three touchdowns from its defense was just the icing on the cake as the Concordia Orioles football team had no trouble with homestanding Sweet Springs in their I-70 Conference and Class 1, District 6 contest Friday.
It was the defense which scored first, Luke Kapala intercepting a Scott Schowengerdt pass and racing 40 yards to the end zone only 1 minute, 41 seconds deep into the first quarter.
"They tried to go over the top after we stopped two running plays and Luke made a good break on the ball," CHS head coach John Cox said. "He made one cut and was able to get into the end zone."
The Orioles' offense took over the game at that point, scoring back-to-back touchdowns within 20 seconds of each other.
Collin Werths punched in a 2-yard run and Kent Schuette, after a SSHS turnover, sped 16 yards. The lead was 21-0 not quite halfway through the first quarter.
The Orioles' defense stepped up again. Josh Kock, who had one solo tackle, one assist, two tackles for a loss and a quarterback pressure in the game, picked up a Sweet Springs fumble and rumbled 15 yards to the end zone.
Kock was the beneficiary of a hit made on the SSHS quarterback on an option.
"He (Kock) did a good job of scooping it up on the run and scoring," Cox said.
Werths gave the Orioles a five-touchdown lead, catching a 30-yard pass from Schuette, the only pass he threw all game.
Carter Brown got into the scoring act by picking off Schowengerdt's second pass attempt and returning it 25 yards to paydirt.
"We were in trips coverage and brought Carter over like we always do," Cox said. "The quarterback threw the ball toward the sideline about 10 yards downfield. He caught it on the run and went straight into the end zone."
At 42-0, Cox substituted liberally the rest of the first half, leaving in some first-team players on defense.
"The third quarter, we ran the (first-teamers) one series on each side of the ball," Cox said. "Everybody on our bench got to play, even ones who don't get to see much Friday-night time."
The Orioles stretched the lead to 56-0 by halftime, Kapala racing 77 yards for one touchdown and Werths scoring on a 26-yard run.
Kapala opened the second-half scoring with a 77-yard sprint to the end zone.
Wade Nevells finished off the scoring for the Orioles with a 53-yard run late in the third quarter.
Sweet Springs managed a late 95-yard drive to break up the shutout, which would have been the Orioles' fifth such contest this year, against the Orioles' third-string defense.
"They did drive the field on our guys, but (we) didn't give up any big plays. I was really proud of their effort for hanging with (Sweet Springs)," Cox said.
David Hall eventually punched across the goal line for the Greyhounds on a 1-yard run with no time left on the scoreboard clock.
The thing that's deceptive about the final score is one would think the Orioles piled up the yards, but that wasn't the case.
CHS rushed for 285 yards and had 315 yards of total offense.
"When your defense scores touchdowns and puts you on a short field, you're not going to run many plays," Cox said.
That was the case as the Orioles' varsity offense ran only 11 plays from scrimmage in the game. The rest were run by the second- and third-teamers.
The Greyhounds accumulated 100 yards rushing, led by Hall's 63 yards in 11 carries, most of which came late in the game.
"Ugly, ugly, ugly is all I can say about this game," SSHS head coach Mike Staples said. "Concordia is a team that as far as I can see has no weaknesses.
"Their offensive and defensive lines are as good as some of the best I've seen in recent years. I think they have a chance to go a long way, if they stay healthy."
It is the latest the Orioles have been undefeated in a season since a 6-0 start in 2000.
"Everyone's healthy and they're practicing like it's early in the season," Cox said. "They still have that extra hop in their step. I think a lot of teams lose that.
"We've struggled with it in the past once we've reached weeks nine and 10, but our kids aren't doing that this year. They're still excited to be playing. Burnout's not happening."
The 8-0 Orioles travel to Alma to tangle with the resurgent Santa Fe Chiefs, 7-1.
"We have to play solid gap defense and can't be overly aggressive as good as (Ross) Tieman runs the option," Cox said. "Usually at this time of year, at least since I have been here, they've been struggling a little bit. Now they're excited, and it should be a good one."
The 0-8 Greyhounds travel to Centerview to take on Crest Ridge, 3-5.
"Fortunately this (was) just the beginning of district," Staples said. "We still have a chance to advance if we can pull it together."