Pung pings Plymouth
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth knew where the ball was going. The Rockies just couldn’t stop him.
Dynamic Goshen slot back Chunie Pung racked up 333 all-purpose yards en route to four touchdowns, and the Redskins handed Plymouth a 30-6 loss at home at The Rockpile Friday.
“He was the guy that we tried to key on going into it,” said Plymouth Head Football Coach John Barron. “The defensive emphasis was to stop him, and they put him in a lot of different places to get him out in space. But he ran the ball pretty well inside. I thought they got a good push on our defensive front and got to our linebackers pretty easily. That makes it kind of hard when the interior guys can’t get off blocks and make plays, and he was a good, tough back in there. He hides and he maneuvers in there pretty well, and that makes him hard to tackle.”
Pung, listed at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, ran the ball 23 times for 207 yards and reeled in five passes from Goshen quarterback Tyler Slagel — who connected with his receivers at a 9-for-18 clip for 195 yards and two touchdowns — for 126 receiving yards and both of Slagel’s touchdown completions.
His 14-yard catch and carry at the 8:35 mark of the first quarter put the Redskins on the board and gave them a 7-0 advantage with Warren Kay’s first PAT, and his 67-yard breakaway up the Goshen sideline at the 7:28 mark of the fourth quarter brought the score to its final margin with Kay’s final point-after kick.
Pung’s 45-yard run at the 2:11 mark of the second quarter gave Goshen some breathing room, 13-6 at the half after Plymouth’s only touchdown of the night, an 80-yard run by Jordan Knapp on the Rockies’ first snap of the second frame. The heavy-footed Kay kicked a 34-yard field goal into the wind to stretch Goshen’s lead to 16-6 with 3:03 left in the third quarter before Pung broke away on a 32-yard run to set up his second rushing TD of the night from three yards out at the 10:14 stop of the fourth quarter. His 67-yard catch and carry two minutes and 46 seconds later brought the score to its final.
“We held on a few times defensively and then we gave up some big plays,” said Barron. “Our inability to prevent a big play is haunting us.”
Wasted opportunities also haunted the Rockies at the game.
Plymouth made three trips inside the Goshen red zone, excluding Knapp’s touchdown carry, and failed to translate that field position into points on all three occasions. Two straight penalties on a second-and-9 situation at the Goshen 14 turned into a turnover on downs at the 2:02 stop of the first quarter, the Rockies couldn’t convert on fourth and 2 at the Goshen 9-yard line with 6:40 left in the third frame, and Plymouth coughed up its second fumble of the night in its penultimate possession on a third and 5 at the Goshen 19-yard line with 3:08 remaining in the game.
“That’s kind of been the story here the last couple of ball games — not being able to capitalize on good field position or create any type of momentum — and just our inability to run the football,” said Barron. “I think Goshen did some good things. I thought their kids played pretty hard, they tackled well, they got off blocks pretty quickly. I think we struggled with that up front.
“I think their defense had a lot to do with it tonight. Again, I think our inability to sustain any type of drive and really hang our hat on something, I think we were searching a little bit there.”
Knapp was Plymouth’s leading rusher with 81 yards on two touches, while quarterback Ike Kastner finished with 70 yards on 22 carries, and Sam Stevens gained 56 yards on 15 rushes. One bright spot for Plymouth was its passing game, as Kastner completed at a 6-for-11 rate for 106 yards, including three catches for 35 yards by Chase Peters and a long 58-yarder to Elliott Eads at the 4:45 mark of the first frame.
“I thought we threw the ball as well as we’ve done all year, to be honest with you, I think that’s something positive we can maybe take out of the game,” Barron said.
While the surging Redskins earned their second straight to move to 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the NLC, the struggling Rockies slipped to identical season and conference marks. Plymouth hits the road for NorthWood in its final regular season game next Friday.
“It’s a new position for the staff,” said Barron. “We’re going to get back to work tomorrow and do the things that we do. Obviously, we’ll watch the film and try to figure out what we did wrong. If it’s a scheme thing then I need to fix that, if it’s an effort thing then that’s a problem, too. When you lose this many games in a row, I really don’t have a whole lot of answers, to be honest with you. I think we do have kids that play hard. I think we have kids that want to win and want to prepare to win, we’ve just got to get more of them.”
• GOSHEN 30, PLYMOUTH 6
Score by quarters
Goshen: 7 6 3 14 — 30
Plymouth: 0 6 0 0 — 6
Goshen — Chunie Pung 14-yard pass from Tyler Slagel (Warren Kay kick) 8:35
Plymouth — Jordan Knapp 80-yard run (kick fail) 9:24
Goshen — Pung 45-yard run (rush fail) 2:11
Goshen — Kay 34-yard field goal 3:03
Goshen — Pung 3-yard run (Kay kick) 10:14
Goshen — Pung 67-yard pass from Slagel (Kay kick) 7:28
Rushing: 46-198; Knapp 2-81, Ike Kastner 22-70, Sam Stevens 15-56
Passing: Kastner 6-11-0 for 106 yds, Chase Peters 0-1-1
Receiving: Peters 3-35, David Lee 2-13, Elliott Eads 1-58, Knapp 1-28
First downs: 12
Penalties-yards lost: 6-35
Rushing: 33-264; Pung 23-207, Ryan Ntende 2-48
Passing: Slagel 9-18-0 for 195 yds, Travis Pickard 0-1-1
Receiving: Pung 5-126, Casey Looker 3-62
First downs: 14
Penalties-yards lost: 6-88
Records: Plymouth 3-5 (2-4 NLC), Goshen 3-5 (2-4 NLC)