CULVER — If “The Art of the Big Play” was a class taught at Culver Academies, all the football players would get an “A”.
After all, the Eagles raised big plays to an art form Friday during their 20-7 victory over John Glenn.
A fake punt in the third quarter turned into a 59-yard touchdown run for CMA’s Joel Tinney. Matt Neufeldt intercepted two Glenn passes. Aramonti Phillips spun away from tacklers and raced 76 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the third quarter.
“We were able to make the big plays when we needed to, on both sides of the ball,” said Eagle coach Andy Dorrel, who watched his team improve to 4-2 on the season.
“When our backs are against the wall, our guys step up.”
Glenn’s football team ran the ball an amazing 70 times Friday night — that’s 70 — but somehow managed to score only seven points.
Though the Falcons rushed for 273 yards on CMA’s field, they just couldn’t seem to stick the ball into the end zone.
“We just fell apart in the red zone,” said an exasperated Glenn coach Justin Bogunia.
The Falcons (3-3) made it down to Culver’s 14-yard line in the first quarter. Didn’t score. They drove to the 22-yard line in the second. Didn’t score. They had it on the 11-yard line in the third.
Derek Hiler gained 111 yards on 29 carries, which is a fine night for any running back. Zach Combes collected 95 of his own on 22 carries. And Adam Dodson picked up 70 more yards for Glenn.
But for Glenn, it was all for naught.
“The mistakes, the turnovers, they just killed us,” said Bogunia. “Take those away and this could have been a pretty good game.”
By the way, CMA also gained 273 yards on the ground. But the Eagles needed only 24 carries to do it.
Phillips — a senior speedster from Oakland, Calif. — gained 128 of those yards on 13 carries.
If there was one player who crushed the Falcon hopes, however, it was Neufeldt, a junior free safety.
He intercepted a halfback-option pass from Glenn’s Zach Combes that ended the Falcons’ first scoring opportunity.
Then, he also intercepted Falcon quarterback Kyle Liedtky deep in the red zone during the fourth.
“I’m supposed to go where the ball is and make plays,” said Neufeldt. “We run a lot of man coverage and when I see the ball coming, I go for it.”
“He’s a ball hawk,” said Dorrel of Neufeldt. “He gets to the right place at the right time.”
CMA took control with 4:26 remaining in the second quarter, when Tinney intercepted a pass from Liedtky at the Glenn 37-yard line. Immediately after switching over to offense, the Eagles handed the ball back to Tinney, who raced 37 yards around left end for a score.
Tinney got back into the act in the third quarter, executing a fake punt perfectly and breaking at least three tackles on a 59-yard scoring jaunt. And to end the third quarter, Aramonti Phillips bulled up the middle to make it 20-0 as time expired.
Glenn finally scored with 6:29 remaining in the fourth quarter when Hiler reached paydirt from five yards out.
Too little, too late.
“We’ll just keep plugging away,” said Bogunia following the game. “When we get guys in position to make plays, they just have to execute.”
• CULVER ACADEMIES 20, JOHN GLENN 7
Score by quarter
Glenn: 0 0 0 7 – 7
CMA: 0 6 14 0 – 20
CMA — Joel Tinney 37 run (kick failed), 4:26.
CMA — Joel Tinney 59 run (Ryan Graf kick), 6:22.
CMA — Aramonti Phillips 76 run (Ryan Graf kick), 0:00.
JG — Derek Hiler 5 run (Michael Schmeltz kick), 6:29.
First downs: 20 10
Rushes-yards: 70-273 24-273
Passing yards: 11 48
Passing: 3-8-0 1-10-3
Punts-avg.: 1-35.0 3-33.7
Fumbles-lost: 1-0 3-2
Penalties-yards: 5-42 7-72
RUSHING – Glenn, Derek Hiler 29-111, Zach Combes 22-95, Adam Dodson 15-70, Kyle Liedtky 3-3, Nathan Ferch 1-(-6). Culver Academies, Aramonti Phillips 13-128, Beau Eckstein 3-45, Hayes Barnes 5-15, Joel Tinney 3-91.
PASSING – Glenn, Kyle Liedtky 1-9-2-11, Zach Combes 0-1-1-0. Culver Academies, Hayes Barnes 3-8-0-48.
RECEIVING – Glenn – Donald O’Connor 1-11. Culver Academies, Joel Tinney 1-13, Pierre Byrne 1-14, Tristan VanDeVelde 1-21.