PLYMOUTH — A cold and rainy night in Indiana fall has not always been good for Plymouth facing off with Goshen in football but on this night, the Rockies would take care of business and move one step closer to an NLC title with a senior night win 36-6.
"I’m awfully proud of our kids," said Plymouth coach John Barron. "They’ve heard about the NLC and playing in this conference and I’m really proud of our seniors and our coaches. Conditions were horrible but we were still able to do the things that we needed to win the game.
Nearly constant rain in the first half, mixed with wind and cold temperatures made the playing conditions less than ideal — especially for a team whose offense is designed to have the ball in the air, but the Rockies made the most of it.
"It affected some of the passing game, when it's windy and rainy it makes it difficult to throw the ball," said Barron. "Joe (Barron) did a nice job throwing and the kids did a nice job catching it."
The conditions led to more concentration on the running game for the Rockies with running back Ivan Winkle getting 27 carries and piling up 156 yards.
"I think the conditions drove the play calling," said Barron. "Some of those calls are runs but Joe can throw out of those too, but on a night like tonight I think Joe was happy just to turn around and hand the ball to Ivan."
A comfortable lead at half led to some deja vu from a week ago as the Red Hawks took a page from Concord's book driving 60 yards on their first possession of the second half for a score.
"They did a good job coming out after half time going down the field and scoring," said Barron, "Once again the sign of a well-coached team that they aren't going to quit and that's what happens every week it seems."
Unlike a week ago, the Rockies answered on their very next possession. Jake Reichard took a pass, coming across the grain and followed some solid blocks to a score.
Reichard ended the scoring on the same play, going 78 yards this time after a 78-yard scoring pass to Garrett Schrameyer was called back on a penalty.
"We have the ability to strike very quickly and even back to back after a penalty," said Barron. "There are a lot of choices out there for our guys and our offensive line did another great job tonight."
"We are hard to defend, we get in the three by one sets and the three by two sets," said Barron. "They were paying a lot of attention to our outside guys and (Joe) Styers had a big game on the play-action run-pass option where he made some nice yardage after the catch."
"There is so much of that offense when we call one number there are so many parts of that play," said Barron. "We've done a really good job of figuring out where the ball needs to go."
Again the Plymouth defense came one drive away from a second shut out.
"Our defense has definitely improved," said Barron. "They like to play some man, we mixed in some zone match up coverages that they like to play, we coach them and we let them make some decisions out there reading routes as well. We struggled a little bit getting off blocks but their line was very big and very physical."
The Rockies (7-1, 6-0) will go on the road to NorthWood next week. The NLC title will be decided as Plymouth can hold sole possession with a win. A loss will cause a tie with the winner of the Warsaw-Concord match up next week.
•PLYMOUTH 36, GOSHEN 6
Goshen 0 0 6 0 — 6
Plymouth 9 13 14 0 — 36
Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter
07:17 PLYM — Ivan Winkle 8 yd run (Adrian Cardona kick)
00:06 PLYM — TEAM safety
11:26 PLYM — Garr Schrameyer 38 yd pass from Joe Barron (Joe Barron rush failed)
02:56 PLYM - Jake Reichard 14 yd pass from Joe Barron (Adrian Cardona kick)
09:49 GOSH - Turner 6 yd run (Romo kick failed) 07:17 PLYM - Jake Reichard 15 yd pass from Joe Barron (Adrian Cardona kick)
01:45 PLYM - Jake Reichard 78 yd pass from Joe Barron (Adrian Cardona kick)
RUSHING — Goshen-Grewe 17-92, Turner 10-29, Ubaldo 2-17, Romo 1-11, VanHooser 1-5, Pletcher 1-2, Bechtel 3-minus 4. Plymouth-Ivan Winkle 27-156, Joe Barron 1-3, Bradley Pittman 4-minus 1, Zach Masterson 2-minus 2. PASSING — Goshen-Turner 8-17-1-56, Bechtel 2-2-0-8. Plymouth-Joe Barron 16-29-2-299. RECEIVING — Goshen-Pletcher 4-12, Schrock 3-22, Grewe 1-15, VanHooser 1-9, Wengerd 1-6. Plymouth-Seth Rundell 7-36, Jake Reichard 4-146, Gar. Schrameyer 3-79, Joe Styers 2-38. INTERCEPTIONS — Goshen-Schrock 1-0, VanHooser 1-0. Plymouth-Seth Rundell 1-0. FUMBLES — Goshen-Turner 2-1, Pletcher 1-0, Bechtel 1-0, 12 1-0. Plymouth-Ivan Winkle 1-0. SACKS (UA-A) — Goshen-None. Plymouth-Nicholas Craft 1-0, Dylan Panzica 0-1, Joe Styers 0-1. TACKLES (UA-A) — Goshen-VanHooser 6-1, Sawatzky 4-2, Troyer 4-1, Schrock 4-1. Plymouth-Nicholas Craft 15-3, Joe Styers 3-1, Daniel Bacon 2-3.